Crossword craze sweeps campus


What is a five-letter word for “crossword junkie”?


Senior business communications and journalism major Kilee Kading got hooked on crosswords as a college freshman, following the lead of a few friends.

Now, however, it appears that more than a few friends are following her. Senior business communications and music major Hannah Kuelbs said that she got her love of crossword-ing from Kading, and she’s not the only one.

A chain has been started. Seeing a student with a crossword in hand or tucked into their backpack is becoming an increasingly frequent occurrence.

“I definitely see more people doing crosswords than when I first started,” Kuelbs said. “I don’t know if everyone’s doing it, but sometimes I pick up the Argus Leader and in the back of the sports section it’ll already be gone.”

However, with schedules filling up as the school year reaches full swing, where do crossword lovers find time to squeeze in a little word work? “In the morning over chapel hour,” Kuelbs said, or if she doesn’t finish, during class. But “only if I’m close to finishing it.”

Kading, however, avoids doing crosswords during class time. “I want to pay full attention and not be rude or a distraction,” she said.

Associate Professor and Director of Journalism Janet Blank-Libra agrees that puzzling in class is not the way to go.

“Over time I have seen it probably only a couple of times,” she said. However, she finds it disturbing that people would rather crossword than pay attention. “You might as well go somewhere else,” she said. Blank-Libra added that, in her mind, this behavior is “neck-and-neck with texting.”

Joel A. Johnson, associate professor of government, does not find it quite so offensive. “It’s better than sleeping, better than cell phones going off,” Johnson said.

Why all the hullabaloo about a black-and-white checkered box that frustrates about as many people as it entertains? “Crossword puzzles are a great brain break in the middle of a chaotic day,” Kading said.

Kuelbs agrees, “It’s a good time kill, something to do at 10 a.m. It’s relaxing, almost.” It also provides a challenge for anyone who enjoys learning new snippets of trivia every day.

Both girls agree on one other thing: Pen, not pencil. “Go big or go home,” Kuelbs said, smiling.