Wednesday, June 07, 2006

For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed word games and puzzles. I started young doing word searches from the newspaper and then in time moved on to playing Keyword and Scrabble with my family. I had a brief phase where I was absolutely obsessed with crossword puzzles, and I am occasionally still found working away at one in moments of boredom.

It’s hard to say what brought on what, but I also enjoy words in general. A quick browse of my website will reveal links to both and, sites I visit often if I need a fix. I can thank my grades 10 and 11 English teacher, Mr. Fetty, for increasing my vocabulary with his oft maligned “vocab” program. Each day we would take down one or two words to learn and our progress was measured with frequent brutal testing. By the end of the year, those who took the program seriously knew some 200 words that we may have never stumbled across anywhere else in our lives.

For awhile Joan joined me in my love of words by cooperating in a “word of the day” game where we would alternate picking new and interesting words to learn each day. Time and circumstances eventually shut this game down, but we still indulge ourselves with the odd game of Boggle. We bought a keychain sized version at Barnes and Noble in Bellingham Washington on one of my visits there.

On another recent trip, I got to dust off my skills at Balderdash. Our friends Nina and Jason had a small group over for games night, and Balderdash was on the menu. I don’t get to play much, but I seem to have some innate talent when it comes to making up bogus definitions for obscure words. I forget who won in the end, I only remember us all having a good time.

These days there is a new kid on the block, threatening to depose a life-long love of words. This past Christmas, my mother put a thin little paperback under the tree for me. I had heard of this title before, and in fact had even seen its contents occupying the pages of better newspapers and in-flight magazines over the past few years. I read up on it a little, and discovered that it could be as addictive as crack cocaine yet as pleasurable as a walk in the countryside. Its name is Sudoku, and it is taking everything in my power to finish this paragraph before picking it up and…


Susan G. said...

There's a Sudoku puzzle in our newspaper every day and I have never really checked it out. Being a Balderdash aficionado myself and a life-long lover of words, I appreciate this suggestion that there might be a new way to feed my habit too.

7:36 AM, June 08, 2006  

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