Welcome to 2012, everybody! It's time for New Year's Resolutions. While there's something to be said for executing such resolutions at any point during the year, I think the change in the calendar is a nice impetus as well as a time of anticipation. I for one am looking forward to continuing my work at Lumos Labs, playing games on my still-new Wii (Christmas gift-giving has bumped my total to six, plus 4,000 Wii Points), doing a comedy sketch-writing class with Killing My Lobster, and enjoying the many events, puzzle-related and otherwise, that are already filling my calendar.
As for the resolution part... well, I've decided I want to make better use of my time. The things I've mentioned are great additions, whether they're fun and unique events or neglected pastimes that represent good ways to unwind. But there are only so many hours in the day; subtractions must be made too. Therefore, I've decided to slash my daily crossword solving regimen dramatically. Lately, it's felt like more of an obligation than a pleasure, like something I just have to get through each day. That's not why I do puzzles. So I'm going to focus on the ones I really savor and leave more room for other diversions, not to mention my massive backlog of puzzle books.
You might think that, with my solving speed, I won't actually gain much time this way. Well, for one thing, I don't always blaze through the puzzles as fast I can; very often, I'm chatting online with friends and watching TV and such while I solve. Also, I estimate I'll be giving up about three dozen crosswords a week; if each one takes three minutes (quite a low estimate given the previous point and the fact that larger and tougher puzzles take longer), that's close to two hours. Wouldn't you love to cut out two hours' worth of obligation per week in favor of more fun stuff? I'm doing just that.
Another reason behind my decision is that I think solving so many crosswords may be lowering my overall appreciation of them. I first touched on this in the recent blow-up at Rex Parker's blog, and perhaps I'll write more on it in a future essay here, but to put it briefly: When one solves as much as I have solved every day, one encounters a lot more crosswordese and other imperfections intrinsic to American-style constructions, and one tires of them more quickly. Solving fewer puzzles will put less of a strain on my daily patience for such concessions.
Now, some of you may have already realized this, but yes, this does mean that the #badpuzzles tweets are no more. I've been amazed by how much people have enjoyed my snark, but I'm afraid doing it only adds more time to the pile I want to cut out. Ceasing these tweets does not represent any sort of softening of my opinion of these low-quality crosswords, nor an appeasement of the Mystery Constructor Who Hates My Guts or anyone else. I had my reasons for taking shots at these puzzles, but they are simply outweighed now.
So that's that. May your solving be swift in the 2012!