It's Puzzling

Yes, indeed it is. Most puzzling. Also baffling, confounding, mystifying, and perplexing. But this is the reason we enjoy puzzles: because they can entertain us, and at the same time stretch our minds.

I've always loved puzzles of all kinds. Filling in that last square, solving a cryptogram, or snapping in that last jigsaw piece has always brought me great satisfaction. But I never thought about creating my own puzzles until about a dozen or more years ago.

I was minding my own business one day, when a family member called. During the course of the conversation, she asked if I knew what a "cruciverbalist" was. I admit I had never heard the word before, but it was easy to break down: "cruci" is from the Latin "crux", meaning "cross"; "verbal" derives from "verbum", also Latin, and pertains to words; finally, "ist" is a suffix denoting someone who does something. So I responded: "Yeah. Someone who makes crossword puzzles."

Turns out this family member had a friend (or a friend of a friend) who was a crossword constructor. This friend (I'm being intentionally vague) happened to mention that she subscribed to a mailing list for crossword constructors.

To make a long story short, I subscribed to the list myself, and became involved in the wonderful world of crossword construction.

At first, I only did a few mediocre puzzles. I bought a book on constructing crosswords, studied up, and created some slightly-less-than-mediocre puzzles. I found a wonderful mentor, and started getting better at it. After all this practice and training, though, I still didn't have anything that I thought was worthy of publishing (I'm very hard on myself).

That changed, of course when I got my first constructing gig. But that's a story for another time. Suffice it to say that I had joined the ranks of the many thousands of puzzle constructors. It's been probably 21 years or so, and I'm still enjoying it.

It's Puzzling

What's most puzzling, though, is this: in a world with possibly hundreds of thousands of puzzle constructors, and millions of puzzle aficionados, why was the domain name, "itspuzzling" still available? That will remain a mystery for all time.