Sunday, June 05, 2011

Another personal milestone

Last July I related my history of doing Sunday New York Times crossword puzzles, and gradually getting better and better at them. I did that post when I had finally achieved a goal I had set for myself years earlier: Completing one of those puzzles perfectly from start to finish, not a single error along the way.

Since then, though it hasn't become quite routine, I have managed the same feat six additional times. I want to get to the point that it is, in fact, what I can pull off routinely, rather than being the exception. For the last year I have managed it once about every 30 or so puzzles, which means that I fail far more often than I succeed.

This morning, though, I passed my next goalpost: I finished a second perfect one in a row. (They were #134 and #135 from the NYT Sunday Crossword Omnibus 200, Volume 8, to be exact.)

Playing pub trivia a couple of times recently has reminded me acutely how dramatically my ability to recall facts has slowed. I could now only compete on "Jeopardy" if they gave the contestants about five minutes to answer each question. In the face of objective evidence of some declining of mental acuity, it is reassuring to be given this nugget of proof that in at least one area my brain continues to learn and improve.

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