Like many Retrospecters, I have been an enthusiastic crossword puzzle and Scrabble fan since grade school. I started doing crossword puzzles in a friendly competition with my dad, and by the time I got to high school, was doing reasonably well with the New York Times puzzles. I tried jigsaw puzzles as well and quickly found the limitations of my spatial abilities. This in contrast to my jigsaw puzzle wizard mom, an artist who still does them at age 92.
Every Sunday I listen to this amazing, funny, and very challenging game show that involves words ...
In my household now, I am the sole crossword puzzle fanatic, which is just fine. With Dick’s children at holiday times, I play the occasional Scrabble game (will have to check out the online world), while his in-laws do jigsaw puzzles. We also do other board games, which I enjoy. However, about seven years ago I added a new brain game to my repertoire that involves both words and listening.
During a conversation, an editor friend mentioned (off-handedly) a radio program called “Says You” that she thought I’d like. I filed it in the back of my mind, until a few months later, when I got my first pair of hearing aids. I learned that people with hearing loss benefit by keeping up their listening skills because our brains have to work harder to understand speech. After a few tries, I found the program on my local NPR station and was immediately hooked.
Every Sunday I listen to this amazing, funny, and very challenging game show that involves words, featuring off-the-scale clever panelists. Instead of looking at a screen or page, the audience plays along with its ears, although some people like to use a pen and paper. There are bluffing rounds when one team of three people tries to fool the other team with three definitions of obscure words, two made up and one real. And the words are obscure. In the seven years I’ve been listening, I’ve known only two words without the teams supplying definitions, although I do guess the right definition from time to time.
Other Says You categories are “Definitions and Derivations,” “What’s the Difference,” “Odd Man Out,” and several with witty puns. Also wicked-hard geographic questions, which are my least favorite. All test your logic, memory, and “pun quotient.” I find I’ve enjoyed the different pathway to fun with words by listening instead of seeing, and if Says You keeps me sharp, so much the better.
I have recently retired from a marketing and technical writing and editing career and am thoroughly enjoying writing for myself and others.