Solving crosswords at a social distance

By Asuquo Udofia

Two is company, three is a crowd – and literally so these days in cities across the world because of COVID-19.  Social distancing… self-isolation… lockdown.   These terms have been added to vocabularies with the spread of the coronavirus. In many parts of the world, social distancing has meant a lockdown of whole cities, regions and, even, countries. About a third of the people in the world are in self-isolation according to the BBC, staying home from work or working from home in order to ‘flatten the curve’.

Adjusting to a new way of life

To minimise physical interaction among people, many activities and events, large and small, have been cancelled or postponed.  These include meetings in places of worship to dealings in places of business; from the prestigious football leagues of Europe to the eagerly awaited games of Tokyo.  And we must not forget an event close to many cruciverbalists’ hearts, the 2020 American Crossword Puzzle Tournament.

Adjusting to these new circumstances is not easy for some. The disruptions of routine, restriction of movements and curbing of social interactions has taken a toll on peoples mental health. In a post on Facebook, Australian Rotary Health’s Facebook page ways to unwind/decompress at the end of the day…”

Solving crosswords puzzles is the perfect ‘isolation’ activity

Even so, this stay-at-home time can be quality time.  Filled with familiar or new activities of interest, this can be one long jolly good time. Solving crosswords is one activity that is suited to the times. It’s just what the doctor ordered for recreation in isolation.

Since COVID-19 broke out, many peoples’ word bank have grown by at least two terms: lockdown and social distancing. Solving crosswords not only boosts vocabulary but also general knowledge, introducing you to new things, people and places.

Furthermore, solving crosswords helps to keep the brain fit. Solving cryptic crosswords is like getting into a brain gym. Cryptics give the grey cells a rejuvenating workout as well as improve lateral thinking skills. Also, there is the aha moment to relish in endorphin-laden glee, when you eventually puzzle out a tricky clue.

While it is unfortunate American crossword buffs could not gather in March for the 2020 American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, ACPT (now rescheduled for September 2020), they, and other keen puzzlers will still be solving, at a social distance, with no diminished relish. Why not join them!