Monday, December 24, 2007


So, entirely out of character, I accepted a phone solicitation (I usually state my name, and if I don't get an answer within two seconds, or if I get the "May I speak to Mr. A-cu-lare?" (after having already stated my name), then I hang up ... this time I didn't, because the Hand of God was at work, as you shall see).

After the phone conversation finished, I was the proud owner of a 20-week subscription to the Washington Post ... but only because they have a weekly chess page (written by a world champion, no less).

(Me: But it was on sale!
Cara Spoza: GRRRRRR!

Authors note: What does GRRRRR! mean, in the context that my soul-mate reads the paper every morning now? ... I win!)

So, channelling the spirit of my favorite father-in-law, I was doing the crossword.

EM, a good little girl, and always curious: What are you doing?

I explained through demonstration: Look, 1-across says "Bird of Prey", and we look on the puzzle ... 6 letters. Hmmm. E-A-G-L-E? No, that's 5 letters, so let's look at 1-down: "At a distance" and on the puzzle that's three letters. F-A-R! So, 1-across must be F-A-L-C-O-N. See?

EM, excited: May I do that, Papa? Please; Please!

I handed over the crossword puzzle to my six-year-old; my heart swelling with pride, but caution. Was I pushing her into an intellectual exercise too hard for her? Would her heart break when it was crushed against the mercilessness of the uncaring crossword puzzle? I was about to warn her to use a pencil, but I saw that she selected one already.

She studied the puzzle seriously. Then writing precisely, filled out 1-across:


EM: Hm, all these numbers are making the puzzle hard, Papa.

I agreed with her (successfully containing my mirth), and commanded her to show her mama her amazing triumph of 1-across.

My little girl's all growed-up now!

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