I just finished doing last Sunday’s syndicated New York Times puzzle. I’m pretty proud, because it’s only the 2nd Sunday puzzle I’ve ever finished without having to cheat and Google a single answer.
I’ve done dozens of these now, and it still surprises me how stumped I can get by simple answers, just because of tricky clues.
In this one, 14 across was “Where roots grow.” I immediately got it into my head that it was about plants. Five letter answer…SOILS?
It wasn’t until I had a P in the final spot that I realized: it wasn’t about plants, it was about hair. SCALP.
A good crossword puzzle shows us how we make assumptions, and it challenges us to constantly re-evaluate them. This is a mental skill sorely lacking in our day and age.