Friday, 10 April 2009

P is for puzzle and also for pitch

My name is Miss Jones, and I am a freak.

My friend and former flatmate, Ms H, likes to say there is an episode of Seinfeld for all of life's eventualities. I think that's what she says. Some people, and they are mostly idiots, and in all likelihood idiots I have worked with, think there is an episode of Sex & The City for every facet of the female 30-something experience. I don't agree, although when I came in the other night, there was one on where Miranda was mistaken for a lesbian, and it did strike something of a chord. 

Anyway, one episode that I do respond to essentially preaches that we are all freaks at some level. I am no exception. And one strange little victory that brings unbridled joy to my deformed, freaky soul is finding an abandoned copy of G2 on the train with none of the puzzles on the back filled in. Or the Times 2. I also like the Times 2. Of course, I could just buy my own copy, but that is not at all the point. It's just a freaky thing that brings me pleasure because I am a freak.

The other day, on the way home, I found both. 

I know! I couldn't believe it either. It was the Holy Grail. I did the double. The G2 cup and the T2 premiership. I don't know what I'm saying now. But basically, it was amazing.

Well, almost. Like a thirsty man roaming the desert, I saw only what I wanted to see. On closer inspection, someone had had a bit of a go at the G2 crossword. 

Before tossing it aside, like an abandoned newspaper on a train, he had filled in the answers 'Abbey Road', 'Observatory', 'Bob',  'Voodoo', 'Olympus', 'Teddy' and 'Rice paper'. In very light writing, he'd also tentatively added 'Garish', 'Rematch' and 'Hoe'. 

So what can we tell about the mind of the person who got this far and threw it away? 

First, the negatives. They appear ill-travelled. They struggled with 'Map-making (11)', although they knew it ended in '-graphy'. They couldn't attempt so much as a syllable of 'Rice wine used in Japanese cookery (5)'  or a clue to which the answer was Champs Elysées.

However, looking at the positives, and applying actual scientific psychology, they would seem to like macaroons, astronomy and The Beatles. On paper – literally! on paper! on a newspaper! – we would get on fabulously. Perhaps there is a romantic comedy in this. Male lead half completes the crossword every day on the train. Always sits in the same seat. He gets off. She gets on. She being female lead. Always sits in the same seat. His seat. Completes the rest of the crossword. Completes him, etc. Will they ever meet? One morning she resolves to get a look at him, so has a breakneck dash to an earlier station down the line to get on the train before he gets off. Her car takes ages to start. Her car is a make that kooky women in romantic comedies drive. It is almost certainly raining. A crocodile of adorable but s-l-o-w-walking Montessori children dawdle along a zebra crossing in front of her car while important minutes seep away. She dashes on to the train as the doors are closing, leaving a shoe on the platform. Heads for their seat. But someone else got there before him that morning, some grim-faced old walrus. Surely that is not the man whose newspaper she shares, whose biro imprint she loves? Is it? But the real co-crossworder was also late to the same station, missing the train but finding her shoe on the platform. This may represent a confusion of source material. But anyway, what I'm saying is, crosswords are the new sex. Kakuro is the new foreplay. Although I always like to do the Kakuro last.

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