I am a crossword fan. I have been from the day I walked into the canteen at university when I was 18 and saw my friend busy with a crossword.
“Teach me,” I begged, and he did.
Here in the retirement home there is a veritable club of solvers who always sit at the same table, scratch their heads and do battle with the cruciverbalists, (the guys who set the puzzles). It’s an ongoing war with no prizes for the winners, just the flush of victory and in many cases that’s not always the solver…
So on Friday I sat down in the lounge with a cup of coffee and set to work on the New York Times puzzle, on Fridays notoriously difficult and often impossible to solve. With all the Alzheimer’s stories going around and the need to keep aging brains alert and occupied, I pay no attention to impossible. Slowly, very slowly, I find the answers. Friday passes and on Saturday I am still at it. On Sunday I solve it! But there is a problem. One of the clues was “Warm up”. 5 letters and I have no idea. The answer emerged after all the clues were filled in and was the word “deice”. I looked it up, checked it everywhere and in the end I shot off a rude email to the crossword editor at the NYT.
The answer came back on Monday. “Dear Sir, The answer deice is correct. Yours, etc.”
There is no such word. I am sure of it. In 79.6 years I would have come across it.
I spent Monday stunned at my lack of knowledge.
I spent Tuesday feeling depressed: “I’ve got it. Dr. Alz is on his way to see me.”
Wednesday felt like Doomsday. I wonder if I haven’t caught something going around here in the retirement home?
This is Thursday evening; 10pm to be exact. My brain is hard at work and then I get it. A little late, a tad slow, but I got it. Deice stupid… is written thus: De-ice, warm up. What else could it have been?