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?cycling-clipart-info-resolution-350-x-337-category-others--181384 free


What’s your favourite time-waster?

6 thoughts on “Puzzling It Out

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