One of the highlights of my week—particularly if it's been a week in which we haven't seen much of each other—is to curl up on a Saturday morning with my husband and the Globe and Mail cryptic crossword.
Whenever I visit my parents' house, I spend a few private moments in front of one particular watercolour painting.
It is a scene of laundry drying in the backyards of a Montreal suburb in very early spring, sometimes in the 1960s. The artist who painted it was my grandmother and like much of her work, the medium is unassuming and the scene is quietly domestic. And yet, I am transfixed at every viewing. When I stand before that painting, I feel as if, for just a moment, I have stepped back in time and into her life.
She works extremely long hours under difficult conditions and she is often lonely. When she is, there is very little I can do to help and that breaks my heart.
When I am lonely, distraction helps and as you know from the contents of this website, I find cryptic crosswords to be a wonderful distraction. I could not give my friend a hug or make her dinner but perhaps I could distract her from her loneliness, I reasoned. Perhaps I could show her the hidden door that leads into the magically complex world of cryptics, and in so doing, give her some respite from the world around her. I wrote her a guide to solving cryptic crosswords. And, to make the process as engaging as possible, I wrote her a personalized puzzle, with clues and answers designed especially for her.
I'm a writer, explorer, amateur setter of cryptic crosswords, and new mom.