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.