Quod Me Nutrit Me Destruit
Google says no. This appears to be a favorite slogan of the eating disorder community. But I say we’re still kindred spirits. Because the language I use to describe why I do the puzzle is strikingly similar to theirs: it’s an aspect of my life that I can control. When chaos looms all around, I turn to the puzzle. Not only does it shut out the craziness, but I’m focused on a task I know I can master. It’s not about whether I’ll complete it, it’s about how much solace I can get out of immersing myself in it. I’ve often said that if there were a chance I could not finish the crossword, I wouldn’t do it.
Yes, this is what I’ve often said—until yesterday, when I had to cheat to fill in the NE corner. In so doing, I became, for a day, one of those people for whom the puzzle is itself the source of anxiety, not its vanquisher. Knowing that many on the Times crossword forum struggled with the same clues provided little comfort. Actually, no comfort at all. That’s their business.
Now I need to come up with a suitable place for that tattoo.