>I have learned that one of the absolute best ways to spend a morning is with a cup of coffee, a pen, and a crossword puzzle.
It might just be the wordsmithy geek inside of me (that is becoming more and more prominent, I might add) that loves this so much, but I am convinced that such an endeavor to start your day makes the rest of the day just flow more smoothly. Your brain gets a kick-start, making mornings all the more bearable.
To some people, though, these puzzles are nothing but nerdy jibberish. A bunch of errant clues pointing to blank squares on a grid could seem like a waste of time and mental facilities.
Well then, call my brain a waste. If I may brag for a moment, for the first time ever (since I started doing them, around Junior year in High School), I have completed the puzzle every day in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, which borrows them daily from the LA Times. I know, I know.
A few facts about crossword puzzles:
They get progressively harder as the week goes on. Most beginners, with a dictionary and thesaurus, can finish a Monday puzzle without breaking much of a sweat, but will be utterly frustrated and quickly give up come Saturday.
The vast majority of crossword puzzle clues and answers are recycled. Obscure people of whom you've never heard? Stick it out a few weeks: they'll pop up again.
Each puzzle (for the most part) is themed. One this week's theme was "MIDDLE C" ("Piano Benchmark"), making all of the themed answers have a "C" directly in the middle of them, like "CLAY COURT" "CRASH COURSE" and "CRANK CALLER."
Most of the time, if the answer is a snake, it will be an ASP
Every crossword puzzle is perfectly symmetrical horizontally as well as vertically. The bottom right answer has the exact same number of letters as the top left, and so on and so forth.
Expect a lot of the answers to be witty or snarky. Puzzle makers are quietly arrogant and like to show off their mental prowess through plays on words.
If you find the time, get up a little bit earlier than normal this upcoming Monday. Get a thesaurus (or a computer with internet, for that matter. Just don't cheat unless you have to! You can figure it out!), brew some coffee and give it an old-fashioned try. You'll learn the language after a little bit (because it truly is a different language) and you will feel more accomplished than you have in a while upon its completion.