News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Liz Ciancone

August 6, 2013

LIZ CIANCONE: Puzzles do make the best games

TERRE HAUTE — I come from a family of game players. Mom and Dad would pass the evening hours with a cribbage board sitting between them on a table.

Of course, I learned cribbage. I also learned to play rummy and 500 and pinochle at an early age. But I never did learn to play euchre, and I wish now someone had taught me to play that. Mom played bridge, but Dad did not and would not learn. I could not be bothered with old maid and slap jack. I thought that was too easy, but I did figure out the rules by careful observation.

One game that no one shared was a game with oneself — crossword puzzles. The morning paper became a race between Dad and Grandma to see who could get first shot at the puzzle. When Dad was traveling, Grandma always got first try because Mom was busy fixing breakfast and, if Dad was home, Grandma would defer to the man of the house. I never did learn to defer.

I did look forward to growing up so that I might subscribe to a newspaper and have a crossword puzzle all to myself. As it was, anyone with a spare moment would add a letter or two as they passed the table holding the puzzle, but by the time I got home from school, only the hardest words were left for me.

Maybe because I never got the paper first when I was a kid and was stuck with the hard clues, the daily crossword became less and less of a challenge. But, finally, I believe it was in a magazine called “The Saturday Review,” I found a challenging puzzle. I discovered “quote acrostiks.”

We did not subscribe to the magazine, but the school library did, and I would work away at the desk — I volunteered as a student librarian so I got a good shot — and I’d puzzle away. The library also was a source of reference books which I considered a fair way to get assistance. If I got it right, the answer spelled out a literary quotation, while the first letters of the clues provided the name of the author and the title of the work.

I still prefer those puzzles above all others, but any old puzzle will do in a pinch. I have found that I now need to work with pen and ink so I can see the clues and write in the letters. Ink does not erase well and some of the more difficult puzzles are illegible when I finish. I once saw an ad for a pen with erasable ink. I wish I had saved it.

I have discovered the print magazines with nothing but acrostiks! Wow!

Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star reporter. Send email to opinion@tribstar.com

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Liz Ciancone
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Miley Cyrus Still in Hospital, Cancels 2nd Show Raw: Three Rare White Tiger Cubs Debut at Zoo New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Pope's Relic on Wheels Departs to Rome Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Today in History for April 16th
NDN Video
Jenny McCarthy Engaged to "New Kid" Kate and Will Land in Oz Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 1 WATCH: Women Fight To Marry Prince Harry! O’Reilly Launches Preemptive Strike Against CBS Pixar Unveils Easter Eggs From its Biggest Movies Baby Sloths Squeak for Their Cuddle Partners in Adorable Video Miley Cyrus Hospitalized After Severe Reaction To Medicine Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Toddler climbs into vending machine 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Much-Anticipated 'Gone Girl' Trailer Finally Debuts! (VIDEO) Dog and Toddler Wear Matching Outfits in Adorable Photo Series VP Biden: "World witnesses ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things" It's Official! Michael Strahan Joins "GMA" Blood Moon Time-lapse Actress Lake Bell Goes Topless The Five Weirdest Local Taxes in America
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity