There are a concerned and heretofore voiceless set of students on campus whom on behalf of which I intend to write you. We are the students showing up early to lecture halls, the bus stop waiters, the lunch time readers and the grassy quad sunbathers who reach for a copy of the Nexus for one particular purpose. Your crossword puzzle.
I love that shit. I have attempted the better part of every Nexus crossword puzzle I have come across since I came to this beautiful campus and there’s one remarkably noticeable trend. Your Friday puzzle is too goddamn hard.
I understand that each day is meant to be progressively harder, but good heavens have I lost sleep over how steep the gradient has become. A given week looks like this:
Monday? Relaxing, quaint, straightforward. Tuesday? A few curveballs, some blank spaces, I often fold the paper in quarters to take it with me so that I can work on it later. Wednesday? Only completed when I’m in tip-top shape.
Obscure references and open ended clues become the main structure of the puzzle as tactics like word deduction and vowel counting become more and more difficult. Often incomplete. Thursday. Fuckin’ Thursday. I’ve seen a few complete Thursdays in my time. A couple by me, a few more by others. But Thursday puzzles are no place for pussyfooting around. I often start the puzzles simply to keep my skills honed, but rarely have the skill or determination to bring them to fruition. Who’d’ve guessed that my unfamiliarity with ‘70s Tony award winners, hall of fame Cricket players, or 19th century Opera composers that would hamstring me from the simple pleasures of a completed Thursday puzzle? But I digress. We’re losing sight of the issue at hand.
Friday. Fuck my ass Friday. Who on God’s green earth solves these? The lucky couple of clues that happen to be proper names of specific things of which I am familiar are the only things to look forward to on your Friday puzzles. It’s like climbing buttered glass. I don’t even know where to start. The clues are terse, open-ended and often four-letter indefinite nouns (no shortage of those). In fact, the uncautious puzzler (me) will often assume a word incorrectly and then build themselves an elaborate web of falsely informed guesses which will continue until the puzzler starts creating nonsense in the perpendicular selections, at which point it’s already too late! The original clue proves itself worse than useless in solving the puzzle. I want your crossword puzzle to gently tiddle my quizzical trivia talents, and here I am getting railed once a week by these cryptic crossword concoctions of catastrophic confusion. I’ve had it up here. Too long have I suffered silently and hopelessly.
Let this stand as a plea for mercy, but please also note that I would not feel so strongly were I not such an avid fan of the noble art of the crossed word. I compliment the relevant puzzle master for their continued efforts to supply me with what over the years surely amounts to hours of entertainment between classes, before meals, and even during late nights in bed with a Mighty Bright night light and a trusty blue BIC pen (I do crosswords in pen, I know. Ladies?) I want the crossword column to flourish and I only intend to shed light on an otherwise wonderful piece of the Nexus. As my girl Beyonce says, “to know love is to know pain.” I love the crossword puzzle, and I love the Nexus, but sometimes I can’t help but pull a fresh copy off the newspaper racks and think, “Thank god it’s Monday.”
Free Tibet. #YOLO
A version of this article appeared on page 12 of January 7th, 2013’s print edition of the Nexus.