(WRITING) PEN MIGHTIER THAN PENCIL

By Jug Varner

A number of years ago singer Peggy Lee recorded a pop song entitled, “I Don’t Know Enough About You.” I feel that way about crossword puzzles.

Having worked them for years, created a few of my own, and graduated long ago to the more difficult bound volume types found in bookstores, I have memorized a host of odd-ball words these authors use to make the puzzles fit. Words such as these might be great for use in crosswords, or in a game of Trivial Pursuit, but seldom if ever have I found need of them in writing articles or in normal conversations. A response to most of them would probably be a blank stare.

Despite this growing lexicon of “useful for only specific occasion” words embedded in my thought process, I am often stopped dead cold by new ones that these brainy authors dig up from somewhere to remind me who is in charge here. Try as I may, seldom can I find the complete solution without looking in the back of the book. When I do, it is usually some obscure idiom I never heard of (or something useful coined by crossword authors, I suspect).

I have never met a crossword puzzle author, nor am I sure I would want to - for fear of unleashing my pent up frustrations brought about by their smug “I am more clever than you are” creativity that must be requisite to their profession.

But, hey, what am I getting all riled up about. I suppose even the genius who can answer the most difficult questions on top dollar TV quiz shows probably can’t necessarily better my efforts in working crossword puzzles without peeking at the finished product in the back of the book.

During a visit with a long-time Navy buddy in Alabama, his wife noted that I was using a pen instead of a pencil on a crossword puzzle and exclaimed, “Wow, I would never attempt working one of those things without being able to erase my mistakes.”

I just smiled, but did not tell her that ink is more readable for me.

I guess there is a bit of natural smugness built into each of us.