Thursday, May 28, 2015

Using cross-words yet again...

 Recently I had to use my teacher voice for the first time in over eight years.  Seriously.  And  I've never gotten down and dirty like I chose to yesterday.  Still, the company had it coming after a year and a half of miscommunication, financial screw-ups, and making me wait for months before they'd give me a clear answer on anything.  Halfway through another convoluted conversation, I told the person on the other end of the line exactly why I would no longer do business with such an amateurish corporation. I didn't use cross-words, but let me tell you, she got the message...loud and clear.  And for the first time in a long time I didn't feel bad for setting the record straight.  Believe me, I could have said much worse.
Never tick off a writer who knows how to use colorful, yet professional language to their advantage.
While cooling off on a walk this afternoon, I remembered the funny, little blog I wrote last summer and thought I'd post it once more.  And for those of you know of my verbal sparring partner, the irony won't escape you at all.  
Please enjoy and share the encore of "Cross-words."
     



Cross-words
Originally published on August 31, 2014

What's a ten letter word that describes my transition from Word Jumbles to crossword puzzles?  Starts with an "f"... ends with a "d."  Synonymous with stonewalled.
Give up?
Ever since I started goofing around with my NOOK and discovered free crosswords, I've been fascinated and frustrated.  You see, I'm not a dumb box of rocks.  I've honed a pretty eclectic vocabulary.  My thesaurus and dictionary stand at the ready whenever I'm writing and they're both dog-eared and tattered.  If you know me, you know I love words, words, words -- but usually in context.
It's a pain in the _ _ _ (three letter word for donkey) to read a clue and have no clue as to what the answer is, particularly when double entendre is involved.  Especially then.  Take for example this one:  "a seven letter word for shy." 
Bashful? 
NO! 
Fearful? 
NO! 
Can you believe the answer is "wanting?"  As in "I'm one hundred dollars shy of being able to afford all the Ibuprofen I'll need to cure the headaches these crossword puzzle are giving me."
How in the _ _ _ _ (four letter word for the devil's playground) was I supposed to shift my brain around that quickly?  Still, all this monkeying around with the English language has taught me one thing:  I'm humbled by how humbling it is to dismally slog through the "easy" puzzles on my way to something more challenging.  But still, I persevere, even though doing them makes my head hurt like a son-of-a- _ _ _ _ _ (five letter word for a female dog).

You'd think by the stock from which I was spawned, I'd be more successful.  Both my maternal grandmother and mother were avid crossword addicts.  One of my favorite childhood memories is coming home from school and watching my mother peruse the afternoon paper until she came to the section where the daily crossword was found.  She folded it into a neat little rectangle and got busy. My linguistically brilliant mother could do them in ink and never miss a beat; I can count on one hand the number of times she was stumped by a clue. My mom's a wordsmith and avid reader, so I once called her on the phone to define "vernacular" and another time to give me ideas for how to describe the tap dancing classes she took as a child.  Of course, she used vivid language with plenty of sparkling adjectives and verbs.  Read the early sections of A Tapestry of Truth and you'll find my mother's verbal fingerprints all over the page.
And just last night I dreamt of being in my grandmother's home on Norway Avenue in West Virginia.  She used to stash National Enquirers beneath the cushions of her couch and chairs (so the preacher wouldn't see them when he popped over for a visit).  In my dream I went searching for them and wedged in-between the rags were a bunch of unfinished crossword books.
"Hey, Mam-maw," I brightened.  "I forgot you like to do these."        
"Well, I'm dead now, so you can have them," she laughed.  "I don't need them anymore."
"Thanks...I'll put them to good use."
She winked.  "I'm sure you will."

I've done my best, but let me tell you, it ­_ _ _' _ (four letter word for the slang of "isn't") easy.  I mutter cross words under my breath whenever I find an absolutely idiotic clue such as "won at musical chairs" and the answer is "sat."  Holy ­_ _ _ _ (four letter word for cow pies)!  How my brain has to twist and turn...and I have to think way outside of the box in order to fill in those tiny boxes with the correct letters.
I become frustrated...then angry.  Then as I use the hints my NOOK provides and find myself needing them less and less over time, I'm elated enough to keep going.  These crosswords have become my chocolate of choice these days...a new and less caloric addiction. 
It's like a new form of brain gym and one that I'm in need of as I'm preparing to write two novels simultaneously and through the  viewpoints of four vastly different characters.  The mental gymnastics have been an effort, but one I'm happy to keep practicing.  After all, I'm not knitting anymore, so I've got some leisure time to fill.
So I just got back from the Dollar Store where I found a host of crossword books and chose two that didn't look too overwhelming.  I've only completed a couple and so far, so good...sorta.  But - if you see me muttering in public with a little book and pencil, please come on over and give me a clue. 
Or two. 
Or three.
       Hot _ _ _ _ (four letter word that's synonymous with a beaver's home), they're still really tough for this neophyte delving into the game player's global vernacular!