Some people call me a crossword puzzle fanatic. I prefer aficionado. Let’s not go to extremes. Sure, I always have a puzzle on me and my day isn’t complete unless I finish a half dozen. There are plenty of new ones available and I have multiple choices so I rotate sources. Every leading US newspaper features them as they have for decades. Crosswords are popular with the masses and then there are the special devoted followers like me. I find them mentally challenging, stimulating, and a great way to pass the time. You are never bored with a puzzle around. And I don’t just like the easy ones. It’s no fun to finish in five minutes or less. I like the jumbo size Sunday editions that make you really think. You must have good memory recall. After years of crosswords, you get a database in your brain that will take you far.
I have been known to do my puzzles in every possible place. It is obvious that I would indulge in the park, the car, at the beach, or while dining in a restaurant. It goes without saying that you need a bunch on a plane or a train. Watching TV is not out of the question although at the movies is. You have to be able to concentrate and read the clues—and that does not include in the dark. One place that might be a little extraordinary is in my hot tub in the backyard. All of my friends say it’s the Hottest Tubs in the neighbourhood. I even bought a great accessory for this purpose. There is a tray you can attach to the tub to use for drinks and snacks, and in my case a battery of puzzles. One or two pens are also apparent. You must be thinking, what if the puzzles get wet. I try to be careful but when people get in and out of the tub, it happens and it is annoying. I just pick a dry puzzle, and off I go.
Hot tubs are so relaxing that your mind turns to mush if you are in it too long and the water temperature has been turned up. It isn’t exactly stimulating to be in a big bath tub. However, with the new tray, it is still an ideal location to polish off a few more puzzles for the day. There are days when I just can’t fit them in and it makes me agitated. I need to see a few of those patterned puzzles staring me in the face. If one is too easy, I keep going until I get one that I would call a true challenge. I have such a backlog of them, you can’t imagine. People give them to me thinking I must be running short since I am always at it. I find books of them in old book stores that go back to the last century. There are certain puzzle editors I look for. Occasionally, I find a collector’s item. But that one is not for the hot tub.