Now, most intellectual people such as myself enjoy crossword puzzles. Hell, on occasion, I enjoy the crossword puzzles in some of the magazines I read (I remember the crossword puzzle in The Hockey News (which I’m surprised to say, still exists), which was kinda fun). But the general crossword puzzle in the Times and whatnot, I dislike a bit.
Not a lot, mind you, a bit. Crossword puzzles are a great way to show how well-read you are in a certain field or fields (which, largely, I’m not, as shown when I do crosswords), as they are supposed to be. I don’t have some big “Crossword puzzles are EVIL” vendetta against them. But the reason for my dislike of them is its use as a barometer of intelligence, which it’s not.
Crossword puzzles are in the same boat as Jeopardy!: how well-read one can be, as examined in a game or puzzle, as the case may be. And yet, people wave the two around as being a sign of their intelligence, when they really aren’t the same thing. Puzzles like KenKen or a show like Grand Slam are generally better barometers of intelligence (though Grand Slam, with its “General Knowledge” round, also has a bit of a barometer as to how well-read one is – but that’s another post), due to the importance of actual brainpower rather than sifting through the ol’ mental Rolodex, but even they shouldn’t be taken on face if one is smart or not.
On the other hand, maybe my problem is just that some people are pompous with how they can finish the crossword puzzles and I’m either (a) sick of the pomposity from these damn Grand Regurgitators or (b) I’m jealous.