When it comes to dating guys, I have one surefire method of weeding out the men who are just pretty faces from the men I’m really interested in; this I call “the crossword puzzle test.”

The crossword puzzle test involves sneaking a crossword puzzle (preferably the New York Times puzzle and preferably a puzzle from later in the week, when they become more difficult to complete) in front of your man candy and waiting to see if he takes the bait.  It’s a bit like deep-sea fishing, except not, for obvious reasons.  Having hopefully taken the bait and becoming ensnared by your sneaky crossword puzzle trap, the ensnarer (you) must now begin a careful period of observation in which it is necessary to note the length of time it takes your man to complete the puzzle, whether or not he cheats by looking clues up on Google, and – this last one being most paramount – whether or not he looks attractive pensively chewing the end of a pen or pencil, again, for obvious reasons.

The only way for your quarry to survive the crossword test (read: continue to be viewed as viable romantic material by the ensnarer) is to complete the crossword puzzle and yell a cute victory phrase like “Yay!” or “Jive turkey!” or “Hello Kitty!” – something like that.  Bonus points for shedding tears and bonus points for enlisting your assistance during the puzzle’s completion.  Also, bonus points for doing the puzzle in pen (duh).  Basically, just look for opportunities to shower your man with bonus points.  After all, you want him to pass, right?

The bitter irony of this test is that I myself am hardly ever able to complete a crossword puzzle on my own – which is pretty bananas, I know – but I think successful relationships usually involve two people with complimentary traits whose individual strengths and weaknesses are easily woven into a web of love and co-dependence (I think I just vomited).  So when I administer the test, I believe I’m saying to my potential mate: “Listen hear, sonny.  I may not be able to finish a crossword puzzle but I am able to finish some other things, ifyouknowwhatimean.”  Or maybe I’m just crazy.  There’s always that option, too.

Psychoanalysis aside, the real reason for this blog is to make sure everyone is aware that the 36th Annual Crossword Puzzle Tournament is occurring this weekend in New York City.  The tournament is a chance for amateur puzzlers – who prefer to be called “cruciverbalists,” but all I can say is what a damn mouthful – to test their mettle against each other and to generally just celebrate all things crossword puzzle.  Here are some photos from past tournaments, presented sans comment...because really, the photos themselves are incriminating enough:

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Will Shortz, who is perhaps the nation’s most prolific creator of crossword puzzles, hosts this year’s tournament, and he enjoys being called things like “puzzlemaster” and “enigmatologist,” which make him sound like he should appear either as a sub-villain somewhere in the Game of Thrones anthology, or as the protagonist in a Dan Brown novel.  Also, Pagemaster.

Will Shortz...I mean Puzzlemaster...I mean Pagemaster...I mean...

Will Shortz...I mean Puzzlemaster...I mean Pagemaster...I mean...

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So, what do you think?