Tag: nyt crossword puzzle

Scrabble, and Other Secret Languages


Because am I knee-deep in writing¬†The Baltimore Book of the Dead, we’re reposting a column from the very early days of Bohemian Rhapsody — the third, in fact. The Baltimore Fishbowl was just a month old. My ex and I were having a little post-divorce relapse, as we learn at the end of the piece. That does seem like a long time ago. Since I wrote this, four new two-letter words have been added to the “secret language” of Scrabble: DA GI PO TE, appended to the official word list in 2014. I can only imagine what my mother would have to say about it. These days, it’s her namesake, my seventeen-year-old daughter Jane, who is kicking my butt. There’s no one I’d rather lose to.

Originally published June 22, 2011 – I was brought into the fold of Scrabble players in the mid-90s by a food writer boyfriend who kindly scooped me up and resuscitated me after my first husband died of AIDS. In addition to viciously competitive Scrabble playing, the food writer’s recovery program for dazed widows included extravagant piggery both at home and in restaurants, gin martinis, Camels, wave-tossed waterbed sex and the occasional brisk morning walk.

My New Favorite Marylander: The Teen Crossword Phenom



Gaithersburg native and University of Maryland junior Erik Agard is good at solving crossword puzzles. Like, really good. Although he usually finishes “seven-ish” crosswords a day, according to a recent profile in the Washington Post, he’s also been known to do as many as 40. It takes him around five to ten minutes to finish the New York Times’s hardest weekly crossword (the Saturday puzzle), and his record for the easiest weekly puzzle (the Monday one) is a sizzling 2:17.