Puzzling It Out


I confess to being a puzzle addict.

I started with codeword-type logic puzzles until I discovered sudoku and its variants.


Since I retired, I tackle anything that looks interesting: puzzles I would previously have dismissed as too challenging and time-wasting.

Guess what? They weren’t as demanding as I’d thought.solitaire



Learning to write has brought similar experiences. At first, I was ambivalent about spending time on practice exercises or writing group assignments that took me away from whatever story I was working on.

Now I know better.

I’ve found that polishing an unpromising pebble of a topic can turn it into a little gem. (I have yet to produce any diamonds.)red gem-clip-art-126936



My confidence is improving. Each time, the task is less daunting, the writing freer, and the polishing a little easier.


I don’t have so much time for puzzles since I started writing.

For the last week or so I haven’t had much time for blog writing either, so here’s something I made earlier…

Puzzling it Out

When my school reports said, ‘Could do better if tried,’
 I was miffed, ’cos I’d done all the homework required.
 Back then, crosswords were boring and WordSearch was worse.
 But those Codeword-type puzzles – they captured me first.
 No questions involved to mislead or confuse,
 no anagrams, numbers or puzzling clues.
 Then, with husband, and children, and gainful employment,
 I had no free time for such trivial enjoyment.
 Not with meals to be cooked and house-work overdue,
 weekend laundry, and ironing, and shopping to do…
 Till the morning I picked up a free daily rag
 when the book I’d been reading was not in my bag.
 I’d a seat on the train and there wasn’t much news,
 and the schoolboy beside me was rattling through
 the Sudoku on page twenty-eight. I’d not tried ’em.
 Not numbers – since school I could never abide ’em.
 How hard could it be? So I read the instructions.
 Just logic, deduction, and no calculations.
 The two-star was easier by far than it looked.
 We pulled into my station – by then I was hooked.
 So, from there, in my lunch break the five-star I’d savour,
 and pick up some more with the evening’s free paper.
 Then – one lunchtime – that dunderhead from Personnel
 flashed a Killer Sudoku. It sounded a bell
 when he said, ‘I like these,’ with a smug kind of look.
 I thought – if he could do them… and bought a whole book.
 At home, as the children grew up and moved on,
 I’d more time in the evenings with all of them gone.
 New puzzles – like Gogen – appeared now and then.
 I ignored number crosswords but mastered KenKen.
 In retirement, with no work to tax my mind much,
 I tackled Kakuro, cross-numbers and such.
 Though it’s true, even with the solutions to hand,
 cryptic crosswords are often hard to understand.
 I once thought them too hard so I didn’t even try.
 What might I have achieved if I’d aimed for the sky?
 I need to get out more, my children have said,
 Go cycling, or walking, or swimming instead.
 For, what use is an exercised mind, keen and taut,
 if entombed in a body that’s ground to a halt?


What’s your favourite time-waster?

18 thoughts on “Puzzling It Out

    1. Me too – I just never had time to work out the ones I hadn’t tried before. It’s amazing how many of them aren’t hard at all, once you’ve had time to think about it.


    1. Do you remember a game called Tetris on mobile phones? a kind of angular jigsaw puzzle with extra stress built in. I expect it still exists somewhere in cyberspace, but my life doesn’t have enough spare time in it these days. I used to play it on my commute to work if I’d forgotten to take a book.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t heard of it. I just veg out with Farkle on my phone if I am waiting for something. I usually don’t have a long commute anywhere. 🙂 How is Wendy liking Story Chat so far?

        Liked by 1 person

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