Each year in December, The Globe and Mail puts out a giant holiday crossword, and I got to thinking about it today as I started the regular weekly crossword puzzle.
Crosswords require broad knowledge as well as expertise, patience, creativity, and problem-solving skills. To succeed, one must be able to read a clue and plot out possible responses to ensure that they align with other clues.
Good friends and family know that I love to do the weekly Globe puzzle on my own without help. Sometimes I can complete a large chunk in one sitting; however, more often, when challenged I come back to it several times during the week. Each time, I find that a fresher set of eyes helps me to solve the clues. While the puzzles might be completed more easily or more quickly with assistance, solving them on my own feels more satisfying.
Unlike these weekly puzzles, the printing of a giant crossword is most often a once-a-year event. While the clues and words are usually shorter, the size of the puzzle and the number of clues is much larger. As well, because of its magnitude, completing the giant holiday crossword brings an opportunity for many people to contribute to its solution over a lengthier period.
It is incredible to realize that a year ago this week, we were having to make difficult decisions about SCS’s international trips, and we were just a week away from learning that schools would be closed upon return from March Break.
As I reflect on the past year, I know we can look at things from two different perspectives.
On one hand, we could bemoan the fact that we have been at this for a year, a much-anticipated March Break is no longer in view, and there appears to be a lengthy journey ahead. Indeed, like completing a particularly hard weekly crossword on one’s own, discouragement can be prominent.
On the other hand, we could consider what we have accomplished together, working on a giant puzzle. While it is a big one and often the clues are unclear and answers are hard to find, the most gratifying thing is just how much success we have had in working on it together. Different perspectives, expertise, and a great deal of time has assisted in successful answers.
Yes, I think we are all done with the giant crossword. However, despite it being incomplete with lots of clues still to solve, I am grateful for the cooperation, collaboration, patience, and understanding from all those assisting.