Husband and I do crosswords together, passing it back and forth, taking turns filling in where the other has left a blank, sometimes joyously correcting each others misspelling or poor word selections.
We live in Michigan. For much of the year the nights are long and cold and a crossword puzzle is a great way to pass the time bundled up, sitting on the couch, whiteout reel in hand - ready for the kill, I mean correction.
It’s slightly competitive, we write in different colored pens – so you know who filled out what…
I’ve always done crosswords, but usually they were the ones in the TV Guide and had to do with television and movie personalities – a quick easy finish and a pat on the back to myself for how fast I could complete them.
Then I got married and my husband was doing the ones in the local newspaper, real crosswords, from the Boston Globe or Newsday, with the occasional Sunday New York Times thrown in for good measure. You know, smart people crosswords.
What’s great about my husband is - he’s European, so anything that happened in this country before he arrived, I am an automatic expert on and if it’s old American television, he’s totally clueless – really quite fabulous for me. But that’s not where this story is going.
One night I’m sitting there doing a puzzle and I start laughing, a bit loud and a bit too much for a joke that is only known to me. The clue was “Pincushion”, nothing wrong with that clue, unless you were born in an era where “Pincushion” was used as a reference for something else.
Then I look at the amount of boxes it gave me for the clue and it was four. Four - exactly the right amount for this slightly off color reference that was running through my head.
I continue with my puzzle. After I do all the Across and Down clues once, I work my way back through the puzzle and to my horror of horrors (or humor of humors), in this little four letter answer for “Pincushion” the third letter is a “U”. That’s it, the little four letter answer in my head cannot possibly be right, but somehow, this suggests that it will fit. The third letter in my word is also a “U”.
I pass the puzzle on to my hubby and tell him about the clue and my answer and how it amazingly looks like it will fit. Now, even though we were born and raised in different countries, we are the same age and apparently this little joke was around in his country when he was in his 20’s too. So he looks at me with a straight face and says, I think we should try it, see if it works.
I know he’s joking, but here’s the thing, it’s NEVER going to work. Never in the history of past or future crosswords will this word be the answer to a clue. Any clue. Ever. Really. I’m quite sure of it.
It turns out the actual four letter answer for “Pincushion” is “Etui”. Personally, I’ve never heard of that word, but it fits and a check on the dictionary confirms it. If you were to check the dictionary for our word, the definition would not confirm the word in my head as another word for “Pincushion”, no it would be quite another definition altogether.
Stop reading now if you are easily offended – continue reading if you want to check what your dirty little mind also thought the clue was with the third letter of U.
If your guess was “Slut” than you are absolutely correct, you may join us on the couch! What color pen would you like as your prize? Pink and green are already taken….