DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!


Regular readers of this blog know that I am a passionate cook and an enthusiastic gardener. Another interest of mine is games and puzzles of all sorts but especially crossword puzzles. I used to subscribe to the Sunday New York Times but I stopped the subscription when I realized (and I’m embarrassed by this) that I was only reading the magazine and doing the crossword. Then,  I subscribed to the Atlanta Journal Constitution when I realized that it also runs the Times crossword on Sunday (the week after it runs in the Times). I stopped that subscription when I realized (and I’m embarrassed by this) that I was only reading the advice columns and doing the crossword. Now,  I buy the omnibus collections of the NYT’s Sunday puzzles. There are loads of crossword puzzles available online but I like the heft of the books and the sense of satisfaction that I gain from solving the puzzles one by one. I also enjoy contemplating the ego boost I will receive should anyone ever ask about my preferred puzzle and method. I will reply that not only do I consider the New York Times to be the gold standard of crosswords but that I always solve the puzzle in ink. Surprisingly, no one has ever asked me the question!

Of course, the NYT publishes American style crosswords which contain fewer shaded squares than British, Japanese, or Swedish style puzzles. American puzzles also (though not always) have a theme and these are the puzzles that I like best. Show me a puzzle with a title such as “When In Rome?” or “Proverbial Conflicts” and I can’t wait to sit down with a cup of tea and a writing implement (pen, please!).

Are you interested in crosswords? If so,  DCPL has plenty of material to keep you informed and entertained.

cruciverbalismCruciverbalism: a crossword fanatic’s guide to life in the grid by Stanley Newman with Mark Lasswell is an interesting look into the world of those who make the puzzles we enjoy (Newman is the crossword editor for Newsday) and also provides tips for solving puzzles and bits of history—such as the reasons that modern newspaper puzzles increase in difficulty as the week goes on.  Thanks to this book, I have also discovered (much to my shock) that the Sunday NYT puzzle is not the most difficult of the week (that honor goes to Saturday’s puzzle), it’s just the biggest. A cruciverbalist, by the way, is someone who (according to Merriam-Webster) “is skillful in creating or solving crossword puzzles.”

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I’ve always enjoyed quizzes, especially personality tests, because they take a number of seemingly innocuous questions about simple preferences and turn them into an analysis of who you are at the core. Questions like “Do you run to get the phone when it rings, or would you rather let someone else get it?” and “Do you prefer books with a lot of symbolism, or do you want the author to just come right out and say what she means?” lead to the insight that you are at heart an introvert who prefers working to a deadline and makes value judgments based on feelings rather than logic. My favorite kind of personality test is the “Jungian” type (after the highly influential psychologist Carl Jung), which assigns a four-letter type to each kind of personality. I consistently score as an ENFJ, or “Teacher” type, and there are a number of books and web sites that offer these sorts of tests and interpretations of their results.


Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey – includes a test with scoring key

I’m Not Crazy, I’m Just Not You by Roger R. Pearman and Sarah C. Albritton

Those are just two – there are others.


These sites have a lot of free information, but they often charge for taking their personality tests, so be warned!



When you find out your type, let us know by posting a comment to this post!

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