“Bye for now!”

When my wife moved in with me at the beginning of the pandemic–she was my girlfriend then, and a relatively new one–I started bringing her coffee in bed. It was a natural rhythm as I generally woke first anyway: the anxious urge to start ticking life’s little administrative boxes has always been a feature of my waking moments. And, surprisingly, our standoffish cat fell in line with the ritual. When I brought Jessie’s coffee back into the bedroom, Ruby began following me in, and as I handed Jessie the mug, an increasingly affectionate cat would almost always be settling down onto her lap for “morning cuddles.”

Whatever the case count, whatever the news about vaccines or layoffs, these few minutes were generally the most peaceful of my day. And I relished it, this minor act of service, on a daily basis. Every day, of course, but Sunday. On Sunday mornings I had a different ritual, one that started–in my own mind, anyway–as another minor act of service.

Crossword writers have always hoped–perhaps flattering ourselves–that our work makes some modest material difference in the lives of our solvers: amusement, satisfaction, a few minutes where the mind is partitioned off from the stressors and demands of daily life. And back in March of 2020, daily life became suddenly and acutely anxious for … everyone. Like a lot of people, I felt a call to action. We started spending much of our grocery money on takeout to support local restaurants, paid my barber to give Jessie virtual lessons on how to cut my hair, etc.

Sharing a new crossword every Sunday surely didn’t move the emotional needle for anyone else nearly as much as it did for me. And as such, it became weirdly important in my head. I started going way out of my way–while traveling for my honeymoon! recovering from surgery!–to never miss a week. In retrospect, it was all very naive. But the heart wants what it wants, and my heart wanted above all to talk to you about crossword puzzles. Frivolous, ephemeral crossword puzzles.

So. It’s with no small degree of melancholy that I say: there’s no Rossword puzzle this week.

There’s a silver lining though. My motivation for letting this and other future Sundays pass with no new puzzle–I’ll keep sharing them irregularly–is that I have new and exciting puzzle projects on the horizon. I encourage you to continue to check back here for updates in the coming months.

Meantime, some light housekeeping: if you subscribe to Rosswords via email, I recommend staying subscribed. I’ll ping you when new puzzles go up. If you contribute to Rosswords via a recurring PayPal donation, I recommend cancelling that. I suspect puzzles here will appear on the order of, oh, 1-2 a month, but who knows! And if you’d like to stay connected via other channels, you can find me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. And Bluesky: @rosstrudeau.

My deep gratitude to all you Rossword regulars, commenters, test solvers, contributors, and backers. And … happy solving, friends. I appreciate you more than you know.


29 thoughts on ““Bye for now!”

  1. Crossword solvers, myself included, do not always think to express our gratitude for your generous contribution to our enjoyment. So thank you for your work. I’ll miss the weekly and look forward to whatever schedule you’ll be on. And beyond that, I’ve always enjoyed how your personality shines through your posts. So human!

    • Ross, live your life and tell us about it when you feel like it! I like your puzzles and your missives almost equally! Hope to continue hearing from you. Thank you so much, and be happy!

    • I appreciate you saying so, Karen. Thanks for dropping by. Also, I’m sort of chuckling to myself about that “A.I. generated” puzzle I posted a couple of weeks ago in light of your “So human!” comment 😀

  2. Finding Rosswords during the pandemic brought my husband and me enormous pleasure. It has been a lovely part of our Sunday routine with our coffee and breakfast. Thank you for sharing your witty and clever puzzles. We look forward to future puzzles whenever they surprise us in our inbox. We’re sure we join your legion of fans in wishing you well.

  3. Even though I do the Washington Post, NYT, & Peter Gordon’s Fireball you will be greatly missed on Sundays.

  4. I love that you wrote this for us! And noted the difficulty level of 100/5. I am relatively new to your puzzles, having been referred by another crossword puzzle lover. I have been making my way through your archives and reliving the experiences of those weeks through your point of view, humor, wit, and vulnerability. Thank you for all the fun you have provided and I will stay subscribed for when you share another. Enjoy life!

  5. i appreciate all the puzzles you have made for us (and for yourself). thank you so much for sharing them!
    (i’m also happy to hear to don’t plan to stop altogether, and look foward to surprise Ross puzzles in the future).
    take care

  6. I have enjoyed your puzzles immensely and gotten one of my best friends involved; most Sundays feature instant messages from one or the other of us that are simply something like “17D!” out of delight or amusement at one of your clues or an answer that is relevant to our lives. We will both miss you!

  7. So much gratitude! Self-care and service are good teammates. Keep following your good heart and mind, and we’ll stay tunedl

  8. Wow! What everyone else said … 😳 … 😜.

    Rest assured that I will be hanging around, waiting for the occasional puzzle to drop. I’ve enjoyed them all (with the possible exception of the “AI” puzzle … 🙄). Be well … 🙂.

  9. I am not usually a ‘slow learner’ –I’m the special ed teacher, for pete’s sake–but I kept thinking I was doing something wrong that the PDF wouldn’t appear. Finally read your column! …and felt a rush of sympathy. My own reasons for pulling back from some commitments are different, but there is still a twinge of regret from time to time. (Robert Reich just retired from teaching after decades…but when his MD congratulated him, he burst into tears. I get that, too.) It is difficult to give up doing things we’re good at…so I’m glad for you that you plan to indulge in the occasional RossWord posting. Best wishes!.

  10. Although I am bummed that I won’t see ya in my Sunday inbox, I completely understand. Best wishes to you and Jessie in the ‘Cuse (born and raised there). As someone said last week, get some Dinosaur. My only must visit place when I go back (although Funk ‘n Waflles may be going on that list).

  11. Thank you for the pleasures of these many several Sundays, Ross. I will be following your efforts with interest, from both sides of the Atlantic.

  12. Thaks for everything, week after week for all this time. I’ll wait to get that notice in my mailbox!

  13. Thank you, Ross, for providing me/all of us your entertaining and challenging puzzles each week. While I understand that you will be otherwise occupied with a new project, I am saddened to not have your witty comments and puzzles in my inbox each Sunday. I am grateful to you for your perseverance in the face of many physical and scheduling challenges and will be here, ready to solve any puzzles you grow our way. You have provided a very meaningful service to all of us in the Crossworld.

  14. The crosswords were a regular source of fun for me every Sunday. Thanks so much for sharing them with us, and good luck in your new endeavors.

  15. Many thanks, Ross, for the weekly puzzles! I’ve enjoyed them, and I look forward to more, whenever you offer them. You truly have provided a public service.

  16. A well-deserved break. Believe me, your puzzles meant quite a bit to me over the last three years.

  17. Funny what a global crisis and social isolation can do. From my modest little base of operations here in eastern Ontario, in the early months of 2020 I discovered a London, England-based podcast about popular music, with a weekly quiz for its supporters conducted on Zoom, and a Cambridge, Massachusetts-situated brain trust that put a crossword puzzle in my hands each week, so I could start solving while on a Sunday-morning stationary bike ride. (I won’t tell you how long I pedal, but I almost never finished the puzzle before reaching my destination.) Each of these two undertakings has regularly scratched my cortex over the past few years, but, more important, they’ve provided moments of humanity, community, and kinship, for which I’ve been very grateful. I’ll miss the regular ritual, but I’ll also look forward to the alerts of a new puzzle from time to time. Thank you, Ross. See you down the road a piece.

  18. so sorry to see you end the weekly Sunday crossword – I always enjoy them. I’ll check for new puzzles now and then.

  19. Wow, Ross, thank you for baring your soul! Your fans hope that you & Jessie take some time together and figure out what’s next in life. But we selfishly hope that you drop a crossword on us every so often just so that we can stay in touch. Peace & Love!

  20. Thanks for the memories and great puzzles to provide relief from NYTXW Sunday slogs. I’ve enjoyed your wedding pics and insightful commentary almost as much as the grids.

  21. As many people learned over the course of the last few years, self-care is critical care. I wish you and Jessie all the best and look forward to any gems you drop our way!

  22. Hey Ross & Jessie – I’m hoping that you can give your fans and admirers an update on your status every so often. Simply because we like you guys!

  23. Hey, Ross! I noticed your name in the rankings at Lollapuzzoola, but looks like you had to take off early. Would’ve loved to say hi. I miss your posts here, but I hope the new stuff is going well!

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