This little gem from Fraser Simpson gave me pause a few weeks back:
Considered deprived of freedom? (11)
The lockdown was brutally difficult in my household. With two little kids home from school and daycare, and two full-time jobs that still needed to get done, plus all the usual grind of groceries and cooking and cleaning and laundry, and all the added fear of a poorly-understood yet highly contagious virus, the lockdown, that period of de-liberation, was anything but a period of ample time for thought in our household.
In fact, that wonderful Fraser Simpson clue above was part of a massive, 24x24, all-lights cryptic crosswords puzzle — something I’d heard of but never seen. But instead of a thrill of excitement on discovering the grid, I felt the bitterness of knowing I would not have the opportunity to do it. When I heard George Saunders advise his creative writing students to journal, I nearly cried. It was all I could do to meet my work deadlines and keep my kids safe and semi-entertained. Deliberation was a luxury I couldn’t afford.
I got back to blogging after a long hiatus, as you see. I took the plunge into teaching cryptic crosswords through Zoom, which I absolutely adore. I created neighbourhood-specific interactive adventure games and a form of “Escape Room in a box”, which I’ll write about in my next entry.
But all of this was hard-won. It required intention. I had to snatch minutes wherever I could (often during middle-of-the-night insomnia) and fight against the pull of despair that the news and circumstances inspired.
But then again, so did everyone. No matter our circumstances, no matter how relatively easy it was or how rough, we all had to become very deliberate in our actions, from the medically necessary (washing hands and not touching our faces) to the aspirational (exercising more, following through on learning new skills).
I came across this article from the BBC a few weeks ago about people who have received surprising messages of apology from their exes (and another one published yesterday). When I first read it, all I saw was the de-liberation of confinement and the deliberation it provoked. But these thoughtful individuals were also deliberate: they didn’t just think about how they had treated their exes poorly, they deliberately got in touch and apologized.
I’m still working out how I can do “deliberate” three ways in a clue, bringing in the intentionality that Fraser Simpson’s clue didn’t have. Here’s my best attempt so far:
Think “lock up?” on purpose (10)
But I’m sure you can do better. How would you clue all three definitions of “deliberate”?