I Completed My First Newspaper Crossword Puzzle! (Not Correctly Though)

I guess it was Beth’s post from earlier today, cruciverbalist, that motivated me.

I was at my Aunt’s house for our usual Sunday morning of coffee and bagels, watching game shows, and reading the Philadelphia Inquirer. As part of the ritual, I also do the Sudoku puzzle and just glance at the crossword puzzles. The Inquirer has three crossword puzzles every Sunday, a TV crossword puzzle, the New York Times puzzle, and one from Newsday.

Like I said, perhaps it was Beth’s post that got me going, but today I looked a bit longer at the crossword puzzles. The TV one did not interest me, and I knew the NYT one was going to be too hard. So I decided to tackle the Newsday one.

Unlike other weeks, I made a good dent in this crossword puzzle while still at my Aunt’s house, so when it was time to leave, I decided to take it home with me.

After several hours of working on the puzzle in bits and pieces. I finally answered every clue. I will admit that in prior attempts of trying to solve such crossword puzzles, I often cheated by looking up some of the clues. But today, for whatever reason, there was no need for me to do so.

There were a few clues I did not know the answer to:

  • Son of Agamemnon
  • Wise Olympian
  • Flower-shaped ornament
  • Physics 101 formula
  • “As my memory tells me” text

But fortunately, I had enough of the letters from having solved the clues around those, and combined with taking a guess here or there, I finished the puzzle.

When I finally found a place online to check my work, I discovered that I had answered two clues wrong, and one of them is quite embarrassing.

The clue for one of them was: “Have as a manager”. I had no idea what they were getting at, but I thought I had filled in all the other clues around it correctly, and came up with the answer “AESWERTO”. I knew it made no sense, but I just chalked it up to some quirky crossword clue.

As it turns out, there was one of the crossing clues (I don’t know if that is the right terminology) that I had answered incorrectly. And if my Mom knew I got this one wrong, she might have disowned me.

The clue was “Shannon’s land”. Now I know Shannon is in Ireland; I’ve been to the airport. The answer was four letters, and I had the first three filled in: ERI. I put an E at the end, because I knew that ERIE was the Irish name for Ireland. And that last E is what gave me the first E in the word AESWERTO.

Well, I learned that two wrongs do not always make a right. First, the Irish word for Ireland is EIRE, not ERIE. I knew that, but I guess I panicked.

And then when I looked up the answer, I felt ashamed to call myself an Irishman. The answer was ERIN. Of course it was; who doesn’t know that! And then by replacing that last E with an N in ERIN, that made the answer to the other clue “ANSWERTO”. I then saw the connection to the clue “Have as a manager”.

So I didn’t score a perfect score, but I came about as close as you can. And in hindsight, I missed one of the easiest clues in the puzzle.

I think moving forward, I may have discovered a new Sunday morning ritual.

And who knows, someday I may even give the NYT crossword puzzle a shot…

And remember: ERIN GO BRAGH…

*image from UMBC

74 thoughts on “I Completed My First Newspaper Crossword Puzzle! (Not Correctly Though)

  1. Thats actually really good. Missing 2 is not bad at all. I have never been able to complete the Sunday crossword. Don’t laugh but, I think at most, I may have answered 3 correctly. 🤣


  2. Brad likes to do crossword puzzles and he will ask me when he can’t get one. Usually I give him a look that says you are crazy if you think I know the answer! But there are ones I can get at times.
    Good job!

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  3. Congratulations Jim! Robbie is correct in that the more you do the better you get. I hope you will give next week’s a try. It is great mental exercise for those of us advanced in years.


  4. jim, i’m so proud of you! definitely don’t give up. with each puzzle just fill in everything you can on your first pass, then walk away, come back later, fill in more as things will somehow be clearer, and continue. as people above have said, it becomes easier the more of them you do, and you’ll begin to see when a clue is not literal, but a pun or sarcastic or has a second meaning. you’re in, buddy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks, Beth! It was a good feeling, and I do plan to try and make it a regular habit. Those clues that are plays on word are the most fun, and sometimes the more challenging ones…

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  5. Most of my answers to cryptic crossword clues are inspired by the letters I already have (If I’ve got any at all) and I often make up answers towards the end just to fill in the spaces. Sometimes, even when I have the answers to a crossword from the day before, I have no idea how they relate to the clues.
    But it’s something to keep me awake on long car journeys.

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  6. I used to do the Sunday crossword puzzle in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette with my (now former) parents-in-law. My FIL would make copies for all of us to do separately, then when we’d get stumped, we’d combine our answers. Between the three of us, we’d usually complete it or come really close before having to look up any of the clues. Crosswords are fun. I miss that tradition. I hope you do start attempting them.

    Sudokus are fun, too. So are KenKen puzzles. (You never see those in papers, but I sometimes play online.)

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  7. So, I too was inspired by Beth’s post to do a crossword puzzle and I too have never actually finished one lol I get really into it for a minute until I get to the 3 clue I’ve skipped and then say it’s too hard lol.. I didn’t have any newspapers yesterday but I downloaded some crossword puzzles lol

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      1. They’re one of my favourites. I like the way they give you an apparently blank canvas but there are signs to get you started if you know where to look. If you want to try one, the trick I use is to look for squares that could only be a 1 or a 6 – assuming it’s a 6×6 puzzle. I also like Kakuro, to give my mental maths a workout. Anything to stop my brain from seizing up!


  8. Congratulations on your success, Jim. When I do crossword puzzle, I usually do the words I know first and go from there. I haven’t done it for a long time, so I’m not good at it anymore.
    I like all kinds of word games, Scrabble in particular.

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  9. I have a hard time finding the right level crossword. Ones that are far too hard discourage me, but some are ridiculously easy and aren’t challenging. I seem to have better luck finding the right level in Sudoku.

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  10. Not at all bad for a first time effort. You may find they become habit forming indeed. I love well made crosswords. I don’t like the sort where they cheat with abbreviations and clues that make no sense. I even tried my hand at making them for my students to build vocabulary. My favorite was the mathematics one I did.

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