I have confessed before to being a crossword addict.
It started when I was young, watching my father do them, asking the reasoning behind an answer. Later, I did it because I thought it would help me become a writer/author/reporter. I figure if you’re going into a war with words you need all the ammunition you can get, or that’s what told myself.
Truth be told, I enjoyed the mental exercise.
The crosswords I do are simple – find a synonym for a word – none of those cryptic crosswords like: ‘Marie Curie birthmark. Second born in a litter of otters.’
No, mine are simple synonyms like: strong taste = tang; bode= augur; offensive = odious. If I don’t get the word right away, chances are some other letters in the crossword will make it clear. It helped when I was writing to come up with the right word.
Then, I was visited by the stroke. And the resulting aphasia, a new word for me. It means that the ease with which I could command words was frozen in my brain, or least the compartment where words were kept was locked and did not have the key, nor the password, nor even a clue how to free/extricate/disentangle it.
These days there are all kinds of electronic programmes/apps/courses, mostly involving a £300 plus iPad, which help you rescue/resuscitate/ your lost speech. For less than a pound (the cost of a daily paper), I offer a less electronically solution. My speech therapist, Catherine, started me by suggesting finding synonyms out loud. I immediately thought of crosswords.
If you say the clue and the answer aloud it helps with your diction, and the penmanship helps with residual effects of paralysis, so you get a course of rehab.
Where else can you get a one-stop solution?
And don’t say: I’ve got an app for that.