Out on a dike

Out on a dike phr. [mid 19-C] (US) going out in one's best clothes. [DIKED DOWN] I'm out as a dyke, occasionally out with a dyke. What I do when I'm out on a dike can become your business once I write about it here.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Shady goings-on

It may be the last day of 2005 but I'm not going to fall into the trap of trying to sum up the whole year. I'm not even going to list my resolutions for 2006. Mostly because I'm not sure I have any. Of course I will be living my life in the laudable fashion everyone would expect.

Anyway, the closest I've come to summing up during the current holiday (and it doesn't even involve sums, as any self-respecting puzzle-bum will inform you) is Sudoku. Santa brought me the electronic hand-held version - Carol Vorderman's Sudoku, no less - and I can now select easy, medium and hard grids to my heart's content. Easy when I want to beat my own best time. Hard when I want to demonstrate what a clever clogs I am. Medium when I can't make up my mind. The musical applause on its own might be reward enough for a completed grid, but it also usefully signals to other occupants of the room that I'm done.
"That was quick," admires Andrea, so engrossed in her own jigsaw puzzle she's surely unaware how much time has passed.
"Certainly was," I say.

Puzzle-bum is an apt description for my backside. I'm sure it's looking squarer. The mind may be receiving a workout but the body seems to have been stapled to the settee for the last week. I blame the new throw I bought for the settee two weeks before Christmas (why should furniture miss out on the season of goodwill?) It could be a strange velcro effect that keeps me seated there. Frank the cat is experiencing this too. The settee has become altogether more appealing, and as Frank and I look so good draped against its orange backdrop, where's the point in moving. After all, this week brought a sprinkling of snow to contend with. Pretty it looked, too, from the first-floor window.

Can you tell what it is yet?For those still wondering if logic puzzles hold any secrets to the universe, or any purpose whatsoever, I need to tell you about the picture puzzles - Enigma, Mosaic and Hanjie. Enigma is my favourite so far. It's fantastic. It's like colouring-in for grown-ups! Join-the-dots and colouring-in!! Match up pairs of numbers to create a trail - no trail must cross another - and then you get to shade in those trails to form a pixellated picture. The result being a little like this picture of me - only - well - let's just say - slightly more basic. Great art this isn't, but I feel an affinity with Rolf Harris whenever I'm shading in: "Can you tell what it is yet?" There are even some multi-colour ones in my book.

Ok, so last night I started thinking, who else but me actually shades in all these trails?

  • Someone who enjoyed their childhood?
  • Someone who understands the joy of a new set of coloured pencils ...?
  • ... and the practicality of a propelling pencil?
Not that I'm looking to form a club, you understand. It's just you don't yet hear Enigma: Amazing Trails being banded around in quite the same way as the Sudoku craze. At least the Daily Mirror hasn't caught on yet. Don't know about The Times, but I doubt it. So, if you heard about it here first - remember who gave you the nod. You can't get these puzzle books just anywhere, you know. Exclusive to WHSmith (or subscribe online).

I'm off to practice staying within the lines. Then I can properly call myself an Expert Puzzle-bum.

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