I’ve been doing the New York Times crossword puzzle for a few years now, but now that the Wall Street Journal has started putting out a daily crossword as well, it feels like I have a full-time job just getting through the ones I can do (Sunday–Thursday for the NYT, Saturday and Monday–Thursday for the WSJ). If I’m working on them at home, I have a clipboard I attach them to, and lately the clip’s tension has been getting overstrained by the amount of puzzles under it. Even though I’ve started printing them out double-sided, it’s too much paper. My purse is full of papers folded into quarters and secured by the pocket clip of a mechanical pencil (also under strain). I hate to give up on a puzzle that I know I can finish given enough time, but occasionally I just have to say “screw this” and put a whole bunch in recycling.

Sometimes I’ll come across an unsorted pile of papers and find a Wednesday or something from ages ago that I never finished, and then they’re like a cakewalk for me. It’s nice when you can get an actual notion of “yes, I am getting better at these!” When I first started, just finishing a Monday was an accomplishment. I still haven’t tackled a NYT Saturday, but recently I did finish a Friday. That was a feeling of great satisfaction.

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