CLINE: The sacred realm of crosswords

We’re all creatures of routine. We don’t like things interrupting the schedules and rituals we’ve so carefully constructed. As every newspaper editor knows, those routines start first thing every morning.

You don’t have to work at a newspaper long to know what leads to the most complaints. Because if something is wrong with the comics or crossword puzzle, you can bet the phone will ring and then ring some more.

People don’t like anyone messing with their comics. They get invested in the characters and story lines and don’t care much for them being altered. We most recently ran into that when “Pooch Cafe” was removed for a short time, and a write-in campaign got the strip back in.

As much as you don’t mess with a reader’s comics, you really better not cross the crossword aficionados. In addition to being very passionate about their pursuits, they also possess vocabularies well-suited for discussions on the matter.

Which brings me to our latest change to the comics and puzzle page. This week, we added answers for the crosswords on the same day the puzzle runs. This, like all changes to that page, did not go unnoticed nor was it universally lauded.

It seems many our crossword solvers can’t trust themselves.

One emailer asked that we move the answers to another day, one caller said it drove her crazy to have the answers so close — and yet in her mind sometimes so far — and Henry White said “it takes the fun out of it.”

One of the nice offshoots of calls like these is a chance to talk to readers like White, a Snellville resident who religiously works the crossword puzzle every morning. White said he began doing crosswords about 25 years ago while stationed in Japan with the Army.

“Sometimes there wasn’t a whole lot to do, so we challenged each other to see who could get done first,” White said of his inauguration into crosswords. “I like what it does to your mind; it expands your vocabulary.”

White also prefers to have the answers on a different day than the puzzle, but showed he can work his way through this problem the same way he works the crosswords.

“If that’s the way you’re going to do it,” he said, “I’ll just have to put something over (the answers).”

That response begs the question: What’s a 12-letter word for resourceful?

E-mail Todd Cline at todd.cline@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Wednesdays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/toddcline.