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Clue: little lower, 4 letters

When my first "serious" [read: a documentary!] Netflix disc arrived last week, I did wonder if I was going to like it or not... but my fears were quickly put to rest. Sure, it went a bit too long in one or two places, but overall, WordPlay gives a fascinating peek into the world of ...


Yup, crossword puzzles! Yes, I *am* a bit of a geek!
Some learnings and random thoughts that went through my head while watching WordPlay:
  • Wow, there really are some very. intense. crossword puzzle people out there
  • There is some sort of cult surrounding the New York Times' puzzle
  • Crosswords in the early part of the week are easy, crosswords at the end of the week are difficult
  • I want to be a puzzle constructor!!!! Waaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!

Crossword puzzles have surrounded me from the beginning: Until her eyesight failed her, my Swiss grandmother did her daily crossword puzzles religiously. And at my parents' place, Section Two of The Star newspaper gets cannibalised at the end of the day, folded just so, and piled up in the bathroom or on the bedside table of - my father.

Me, I've tried to tackle crossword puzzles before, but never got too far. The clues were usually totally indecipherable to me. Unless they were of the very easy just-think-of-a-synonym type puzzles. But those abstract anagram type things, gah!! And it's those abstract anagram type clues that plague most of The Star's puzzles, brrrrrrr!!

I don't think I *liked* liked word play games, but I didn't mind challenging myself at Scrabble once in a while. Until 2002 or so, when I started playing against an ex of mine, and he kept winning! What a blow to my Leo pride!! So I got hold of a PC Scrabble game, found out about these special 2-letter words like aa*, ae**, oe***, "Q"-words without "u"****, learnt lots of strategy, was glued to the PC for hours on end playing versus the computer, and improved considerably. I also got myself a Scrabble Dictionary, that's how driven I was to get better at the game!

On a roll, wanting to keep that aspect of my mental capacity primed, I started to do all the puzzles found in the [old] Malay Mail: they had a Scrabble-related thing [I usually managed to score above par, whoohoo!], a "Word Wheel" [find as many words from the 7 or 8 letters provided, bonus if you found a word using all those letters], and a very simple crossword puzzle. This usually got me though my lunch hour of work while sitting in "my" corner of the Coffee Bean :-)

I dabbled a bit in Word Racer [I think, an online version of Boggle on Yahoo!Games], but while I knew there were lots of more experienced people out there, my lack of typing speed certainly impacted my already slow-compared-to-others performance, so I didn't bother too much with it.

Fast forward to recent years: Unfortunately, Kosh isn't a fan of word games - too much thinking :p I understand, though - he's on his feet and having to keep mentally alert for hours and hours on end, so he doesn't view Scrabble [nor Boggle!] as fun *or* relaxing. Didn't help that I was also totally kicking his butt despite a few years' hiatus from the game, heeheee! So even though we did buy ourselves a Scrabble game, we haven't touched it for aaaaaages [and I don't insist, even though I miss it!].

In August '05 I started keeping my brain challenged with sudoku, although I got kinda bored with it soon after I started cracking the "evil" ones relatively easily [end '05 / early '06]. I then moved on to KAKURO - it uses pure logic, just like Sudoku, but it also involves a bit of math. It's awesome! I'm at the stage where I can breeze through the easy and medium levels, get challenged at the hard level, and usually get stumped at the expert/challenger levels. I carry a "Kakuro To Go" book in my bag so I can easily whip it out if I've got time to kill when out and about.

But Sudoku and Kakuro deal with logic and the left brain... crosswords deal with words in a creative manner, engaging the other side of the brain...

... and after watching WordPlay I had this lingering itch to set my brain working on crossword puzzles despite my earlier lack of real success. Since Sunday, I've been visiting Dell Magazines [gotta love the 'net!!] and trying out their daily crossword. And yes, they too have this early=easy, late=hard thing because that Sunday puzzle I started with was almost impossible [more on that in the next paragraph], but Mon - Wed was easy, Thurs was a bit challenging, and today's puzzle is just as bad as Sunday's!!

A very useful resource I found [only yesterday!] to help me: One Across. Without it, I wouldn't have last Sunday's puzzle completed [well, *almost* completed: I didn't get back to the website in time to view the answer, so there's one little corner that just. doesn't. quite. work. ... oh well!].

So there you have it... my most current/recent time usage method.

... ... ... And, have you thought about the answer to clue that's the title of this post?

I'll tell ya in the comments.


    * aa = n rough, cindery lava
    ** ae = adj one
    *** oe = n a whirlwind off the Faeroe islands
    **** all i remember is qat but there are more, trust me...


  1. Clue: little lower, 4 letters

    Answer: CALF

    if that doesn't make you groan....!

  2. I was thinking the it was going to be "itch". You know - as in, "Please scratch this. No, a little lower. Ahh, thank you!"

  3. Does that movie talk about the methods for solving crosswords? I am so awful... I was not even going to try to guess!

  4. Hi. Tagging you with the 6 weird things about you’ meme. Write a post of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names.

  5. Sorry! Spelling mistake. I meant :
    Write a post of your own on 6 weird things about you as well as state the rules clearly.


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