As long as I’ve known Earl, he’s had a penchant for the daily crossword puzzle. He’s also formulated a variety of rules regarding it.
First, he does the puzzle in ink, which leads to being extra cautious. Earl doesn’t like mistakes or scratch-overs. So before filling in a word, say horizontally, he makes sure a letter or two works vertically.
For instance, today’s puzzle had the clue “Worked in a pub” and the word that fit the nine spaces was ‘bartended’. But before filling it in, he looked for the word that possibly intersected the ‘B’. Once he determined the answer was ‘busboy,’ he filled in both answers.
There are also rules about the size of the letters in the blanks (They cannot touch the sides) and about putting a tick mark against the clues that have already been solved. (Not too big; not too small.)
I like crossword puzzles too, but my approach drives him nuts. I use a pencil with a good eraser, which gives me license to guess. And I don’t take the time to tick off the clues I’ve figured out. Nor do I care if the puzzle is a work of art when it’s finished. It’s going out with the trash.