Tag Archive for: crossword puzzles

Do You Wordle?

By Lois Winston

A few years ago, I got hooked on crossword puzzles. I attribute this addiction to my dear friend Janice. She passed away in 2019 after an eight-month battle with Stage 4 cancer. I spent much of that time taking her to doctor appointments and chemo treatments and visiting with her during several hospitalizations. Janice always carried around crossword puzzles. As a retired R.N., she knew the importance of keeping her mind sharp, and she did so by exercising her brain in two ways: She was a voracious reader of mysteries and romances and a diehard crossword puzzle fan.

Having sat with her during hours of chemo, I know how difficult it is to concentrate on a book during these sessions, given the constant chatter from fifteen other chemo patients, their accompanying friends or family members, the nursing staff, and a TV always blaring in the background. So Janice passed the time working crossword puzzles when she tired of conversation.

I worked my first crossword puzzle after returning from her memorial service. It had been an extremely emotional day, especially since, as her oldest friend, I was one of the speakers. Perhaps she was somehow sending me a subliminal message from Heaven that day. She had always believed in angels, ghosts, and premonitions. I’ve always pooh-poohed the supernatural. Was this her way of telling me she was right, and I was wrong? Maybe. Because ever since that day, I’ve worked the online crossword puzzle in my daily newspaper as a way of honoring her memory and our lifelong friendship.

A few months ago, that newspaper purchased Wordle. I’d heard about Wordle, but I’m not someone who spends time playing games on my phone or computer. I have books to write, and contrary to my reluctant amateur sleuth’s hopes, I have no intention of refraining from dumping dead bodies at her feet.

I also have a staggering number of unread books piling up on my bookshelves and in my Kindle. I’ll need to live well past the century mark before I get to them all. And yet, I keep buying more books! Then there’s life in general, including family responsibilities, and of course, the need to sleep at least several hours a night.

Yet, there it was—Wordle, the word game taking the world by storm. Wordle beckoned like a Siren. Of course, I got hooked. I even learned a secret for helping solve the puzzle in the allotted six attempts: always begin with “adieu.” The word contains all but one of the five vowels. My next word will always include a word using the green letters from “adieu,” plus an “o.”

My mornings now begin with a cup of coffee, the daily crossword puzzle, and the daily Wordle. How about you? Do you start your day with a word puzzle, work one while taking a break, or reward yourself with one at the end of the day?


USA Today and Amazon bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is a former literary agent and an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry. Her latest book in the series is Guilty as Framed, currently available for pre-order. Learn more about Lois and her books at her website www.loiswinston.com where you can also sign up for her newsletter and follow her on various social media sites.

My Daily Fix

by Maria Geraci

A few years ago I began doing something I thought I’d never do–the morning crossword puzzle.
Because, you know, only old people with no lives do the crossword puzzle (like my mother-in-law).

I began doing the morning crossword because I was going through a particularly wobbly time in my life, and doing the puzzle helped calm me and started my mornings off with a positive note. At first, I could barely finish half the puzzle. Then after a short while I could finish most of the puzzle. And then it was a rare day when I couldn’t get 100 percent of it finished. I figured if I could finish the puzzle, then I could do anything.

Then my husband got in on the act. He started “helping” me with the puzzle, and before I knew it, the two of us were fighting to get to the curb so we could be the first one to snatch up the morning paper. I’ll never forget the first time Mike Geraci woke me up with an evil grin on his face and said, “Hey, hon, I made the coffee. Oh, and I already did the puzzle.” He’s lucky he’s still alive.

It was now time to face facts. I was addicted. I was one of those “old people with no lives.” But hey, I am not old and I do so have a life! (My mother-in-law suddenly began to seem like a really interesting person too).

Like all addicts, however, I started to need more. The crossword just wasn’t enough. This is when I discovered Words With Friends. Yep. You know how to play it. It’s digital Scrabble! And the best part is that you can play numerous people at the same time and your game can last for days. I’m in word heaven!

So what about you? Any addictions you’ll own up to?