The NYTimes Crossword
… and deficiencies in my education.
A few years ago, I got addicted to the NYTimes Crossword. And I even paid for the subscription to access their past library, and to the app on my phone and iPad.
In general, I LOVE it. It keeps me thinking and it helps me expand both my vocabulary, and my pattern finding skill.
However, it isn’t all unicorns and skittles. It has pointed out a few deficiencies in my general knowledge:
- I didn’t take British Literature, or World Literature in High School, so I am completely ignorant of Shakespearian plays. Turns out this is a big deal.
- I am terrible at modern music and art references.
- I know almost nothing about architecture.
- I really suck at theme’d puzzles
None of these are deal breakers. I have learnt a few things, including that a pop music reference with five letters is almost certainly “Adele”. I have also learnt that a 3 or 5 character reference to architecture is likely Pei or IM Pei. Seriously, that dude built EVERYTHING.
The NYTimes Crossword week begins on Monday. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday puzzles are easier. Usually there are no themes, no Rebus’, no “tricks”. And I can usually get through them in about 10 minutes.
Thursdays, it takes a turn for the worse. Themes pop in, often there are Rebus’ (n.b. A rebus is a square with more than one letter in it. Tricky). But usually I can get through them without too much trouble. Friday is tougher, but similar.
Then there is the Saturday puzzle. Some people swear that the Sunday NYT Crossword is the most difficult, but it isn’t. It IS the largest grid, and that means lots of clues and answers. But apart from that it isn’t tricky.
The Saturday puzzle is a right bitch. Difficult theme, tricky answers, and a lot of misdirection can be expected. I struggle mightily.
I would struggle a lot less if I knew more about Opera, Shakespeare (or the theater in general) and pop culture references.