Our family has been quarantined together for more than three months now thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s been such a gift for my husband and I to spend this kind of concentrated quality time with our two adult daughters. I really think they have enjoyed the time too. After all of these months together, we have established some routines that have now become just “the way things are done around here.” One of the routines the girls and I have established is to tackle the Sunday New York Times Crossword Puzzle.
Each weekend, one person gets the copy in the magazine and I make two copies from my New York Times Weekend Briefing email for the other two. Mackensie usually gets going first. She is very good at the crossword and has incredible persistence. Morgan is next. Every morning she grabs her coffee and cereal, moves to the table in the living room and works on the puzzle for a while. I tend to start last and work on it in fits and starts. I don’t seem to have the patience and persistence for puzzles that my girls do.
We all start by filling in the clues we know. Then, as we begin to struggle, we start working as a team and reaching out to each other for help. We try not to just give the answer (if we even have it), but to give clues and suggestions that might help the other person move closer to solving the word on their own. This can be maddening at times, but in the end we all appreciate the feeling of accomplishment we get when we get the big “Ah Ha!” Across the week, there are usually events that happen or movies we watch or conversations that we have that connect to the week’s puzzle. We talk about the clues at meals, suddenly run off to grab our pencil and puzzle when we come up with an answer, and we take our puzzles with us everywhere we go (OK, we don’t go too far.).
The weekly crossword puzzle has become such a nice experience for the three of us. I hope that we can continue this routine even when the girls head back to their apartments, and our worlds start to look a bit more like they used to.