Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Is It the Puzzles or the Brain That's Getting Harder?

For a long stretch over the last 2 to 3 years, I've felt that I've been getting better and better at doing the San Jose Merc daily crosswords, faster and faster completion time, almost never leaving any blanks and having to look things up less and less often.

But recently they seem to have gotten hard again. I don't really want to spend 20-30 minutes in the morning doing the crossword--7 to 10 is fine with me. But I seem to be creeping back up there. Today's puzzle took me 22 minutes, including looking up words in the crossword dictionary. Now, really:
  • Black currant liquer: cassis

  • Munich's river: Isar (maybe if you've been to munich you'd know this? Why have I never heard of it?)

  • Swenson of "Benson": Inga. Inga? OK, I don't watch TV. That's a TV show, right?

  • Green finch: serin. (You'd think that, as a Finch myself, I'd know. But no.)

  • Long stole: Tippet (that wasn't even in my crossword dictionaries.)

  • Cell body: Soma (should I have remembered that from biology? I don't think I heard it before--)

  • Carolina rail: Sora (yeah, right)

  • Whole: Unitary (unitary? Jeez, we're stretching here)

  • Stubby, erect tail: scut (even with all the dog-related research I've done, I've never heard this term)

  • Russian chess great: Tal (OK, chess players might know this. I've never heard the name, that I know of)

  • Communion plates: patens (maybe if I'd ever had communion I'd know this. Do communionators know this, or do they call them "communion plates"?)

OK, I DID know that a black cuckoo is: Ani (from doing crossword puzzles only), that a grain beard is: Awn (from doing crossword puzzles), that an inverse math function is: arcsine (after filling in 3 or 4 of the letters first), and that a Flemish map maker is: Mercator (ditto), but this one just really seemed to have more than its share of obscure terms.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ok, so I only knew the Benson one. What's your point?

Keith