To Cheat or Not to Cheat?

To Cheat or Not to Cheat?

In keeping with my New Year’s resolution to #StayStrong and to honor my birthday commitment to try new things, I decided to attempt the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle. Some of the most alert minds I know – in their 70s, 80s, and even 90s – include that puzzle as part of their weekly, even daily, routines.

Why not give it a try, I thought. I’d been a subscriber for years.

I had no idea what I was getting into.

My first attempt failed miserably as my pencil practically erased a hole in the paper. But when I discovered the same puzzle online, far easier to manage from the convenience of my phone, I tried again.

Again, I failed.

Then I noticed the icons at the top of the puzzle screen.

When I clicked the one that looked like a soccer ball, I was surprised at the options.

Could I really check the puzzle to see if my answers were correct?

Apparently so. But dare I do it?

Not willing to admit defeat, I struggled on, practicing with some of the easier daily puzzles. But it was the Sunday one that I wanted to conquer. Finally, one night I grew so frustrated I clicked that tempting little soccer ball. The warning message surprised me.

But it shouldn’t have.

Of course, there are consequences. I guess there are always consequences for cheating. But was it really cheating? It was offered as an option with clear consequences. Plus, my goal was to try to improve my skills, not just “win.” Maybe I could consider it “training wheels” until I could ride the bike on my own.

Yep, that line of thinking worked. So I pushed the button.

I’ve never felt so encouraged by so many red marks. At least I knew what was wrong. Now I could begin to figure out what was right!

I smiled, chuckling at my unexpected relief. Don’t you wish some of our life questions could be so easily answered? Red marks clearly indicating our errors while our good choices are bolded in blue?

What a relief it would be–or would it?


Meanwhile, I’m “cheating” less and less as I’m getting the hang of the game’s patterns and lingo.

How about you? Do you do crossword puzzles? Any tips to share with this rookie? Tell me about it. I’d love to know.

My best – always,

Becky  (Neehah! Note the new name!)

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