by Asuquo Udofia
One of the most fun and mentally stimulating activities people can do while self-isolating is to stay in touch by solving crossword puzzles. Cosimo Bizzarri, who lives in Italy, one of the country’s worst affected by the coronavirus, testifies of the benefit of having crosswords handy in isolation. Writing in The New York Times’ Solver Stories, the Italian writer credited crosswords with helping him cope in quarantine. For him, me-time, often, is crossword time, “a peaceful moment of alienation from the outside world.” Such “moments of alienation” can be important to keep one’s sanity through these uncertain times.
Keep connected while in isolation
But being in isolation does not mean being apart from family and friends, nor does maintaining the social distance mean not maintaining social interactions. Keeping in touch and staying connected with loved ones is vital at this time.
Crosswords can enable engaging social-distance interactions among people during this lockdown. It can keep those familial and friendly communication lines open and busy. A tricky clue that is proving a hard nut to crack or one that just got cracked can be an icebreaker or the subject of a long hearty conversation on phone or chat on some instant messaging service
Solving crosswords social rather than solitary
Nowadays, solving crosswords can be enjoyed, increasingly, socially rather than solitarily. “They became a thing to share, an excuse to get in touch with the people I love.” according to Bizzarri.
While staying locked down on the home front, people can keep in touch with one another and stave off boredom by taking frequent trips across and down the chequered squares in the realm of crosswords, to connect with loved ones and for relaxation.
To get going, well, like those on the frontlines of the fight against the coronavirus, you need PPE – Personal Puzzle Equipment! These include, on the one hand, a pencil, an eraser and some (news)papers, and on the other, devices like a smartphone, a tablet or a laptop.
The technology factor
Thanks to today’s technology, people can be together while being apart. It is common, moreso since the coronavirus lockdown, for people to congregate online for various activities, from church services, to cabinet meetings in the UK and soon, weddings in the United Arab Emirates.
Vivienne Armstrong, a member of the Rotary eClub of Latitude 38.0, knows about being “together yet apart.” Her e-club’s meetings are held only online, or to use the in-vogue term, at a social distance. She described in a Facebook post how her son and his friends held a party while maintaining the social distance “all on Zoom.” The partygoers “had their drinks,” she wrote, “jokes and laughter, all connected and together yet apart in isolation.”
Stay connected with friends and family by solving puzzles
Family and friends can likewise enjoy solving puzzles. By setting up a crossword solving session on Zoom, Skype, etc., people can mutually catch some fun solving crosswords. “If we cannot see each other right now,” Casimo Bizarri advises, “we can at least be crossword pals… “The Clue Detective’s recently developed CUSP (Connecting Up to Solve Puzzles) principle, is also a great way to do this.
During this lockdown, ” friends can stay connected,” says Vivienne Armstrong, ” and catch a lot of fun at a social distance.” Solving crosswords at a social distance is one interesting way to do so.
Asuquo is Chief Blogger at the Clue Detective Puzzle Agency. He is passionate about all things puzzling. When not blogging, he is a keen cryptic crossword solver and setter under the pseudonym Stratusquo and a trivia nut!