Now we've come to a Crossword...

Given the cross country travel games of my youth or the little downtime I have nowadays with a full time job, part time writing gig, and countless social engagements (*gag*) - I used to reach for the tried and true Word Search to get me through those few moments of boredom. It was easy in that sense that I knew my mind would not have to flex to much and I could feel accomplished by completing the puzzle.

When Word Searches were not available to me I would begrudgingly pick up the Crossword, hoping I would be able to fill in at least 1/8 of the thing and it would occupy my time more than frustrate it.

The frequency of Crossword puzzle interaction increased as I became more accustom to picking up the PHILADELPHIA WEEKLY and the PHILADELPHIA CITY PAPER every Wednesday and Thursday respectively - the 2 free local papers in my area. These papers afforded me little entertainment after the sex columns and the sex ads, and that entertainment was the Crossword.

I'm just going to say that the WEEKLY Crossword is mostly impossible to me. I have had the rare occasion (once actually) of completing a little over a 1/3 of that puzzle. Like I said, I'm a novice dammit! The CITY PAPER however, holds just enough pop culture flair and intelligent themes to both challenge me AND make me feel like "I is smart!"

JONESIN' is the name of the Crossword I hold dear, written by one Matt Jones. His clues range from the usual Crossword fodder ("couple in a celebrity rag" - ITEM) to the obscure reference to the TV show What's Happening or recent Sci-Fi classic The Matrix. I started out slow; at first I was able to complete them only with the help from my intellectually superior roommate. Then I started finishing 1/3, then a 1/2. Sometimes only the longer words would allude me.

When I finished my first JONESIN' I was elated. I felt like it was my first time scaling some huge precipice. Yes I'm that much of a geek. After that I started doing Crosswords any chance I could get, all this practice honing and keeping my skills sharp for each Thursday, the new CITY PAPER, and the JONESIN' Puzzle. And yes, there were those times that I couldn't finish it, a time or two I didn't even come close. But I have solved the JONESIN' Crossword more than any other, and for that it will always hold a special place in my heart. Thanks be to Matt Jones, who gave me something to do during Chinatown bus rides to NYC and 3 transfer commutes to work on public transportation.

PICTURES: Top Right: My puzzle from today's CITY PAPER, completed in less than an hour.
Bottom Right: A treasured MySpace message from Matt Jones, the author of JONESIN'
Click the Title of this Column for more info on JONESIN'

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