Giving the Gift of Crumpled


One of the weirdest parts of this Thanksgiving trip to Tennessee has been my family's sudden interest in crossword puzzles. My grandma, my mom, and my aunts all love Scrabble and jumbles and any sort of word-related activity commonly published by a newspaper and/or PennyPress. It's an obsession that stopped with my generation, probably thanks to all those video games rotting our very souls.

Anyway, that's not to say that I don't have an interest in words or language or puzzles, but I never saw the fun in gathering around the kitchen counter for a vocabulary festival. I would much rather curl up in bed with a good book of logic puzzles and a cup of hot chocolate. Exercise of the brain, like exercise of the body, is best enjoyed alone. ALONE. GET OFF MY LAWN.

But because we have precious few opportunities to see my grandparents anymore, my brother and I set aside our hermit tendencies when we visit them. And when my grandma pulled out a book of really difficult "Bible-themed" crossword puzzles (four to seven clues from each puzzle were related to Bible verses, but the rest had nothing to do with the Bible, Christianity, religion, or even nice things), we jumped at the chance to help her solve them. Lo and behold. It was surprisingly fun. Because we all have such varied interests and passions, every person was called upon at least once to answer a question that stumped everyone else. My mom jokingly gave all the 18th-century questions to my grandma; my grandma gave me the Lord of the Rings and internet-related questions; I turned to my brother every time the clue read "movie producer" or "film director"; we all deferred to my mom, the resident expert, for those obscure "crossword words"; and she turned to my dad and my grandpa for all the other miscellaneous categories.

I enjoyed getting to know a little more of the varied interests of my brother, parents, and grandparents, and I loved that we were able to find such an intellectually stimulating way to relax. I have a cool family, and I hope I never forget that.

Oh, and I have my own book of crossword puzzles now, but it's not really as fun to fill in by myself. Maybe I'll let you back on my lawn after all.

P.S. One of the clues that really tripped us up was "crumpled." The result was a four-letter word. "GAVE." Please tell me how that makes sense.
P.P.S. My favorite clue thus far has been "steal, slangily." Slangily? Really? (The answer was "GLAM.")