The Puzzle of Love

(With apologies to Allan Richardson)

-By Eric Mendelsohn

I had been interested in her since she had arrived at the office in the fall. I have always been shy with women and didn't quite know what to do. Snow was starting to fall and the office had slowed down in the traditional pre-Christmas week fashion.

-"Want to knock off early ?" I said to her tentatively.

-"Sure," she responded, "Got time for a quick drink?".

-"What about a cryptic one? I asked.

-"A what?,she said.

- "A drink at the cryptic club?"

-"That sounds interesting ".

We entered the club together. The porter said "Are you a leg (6,2,4,8). Yes I am a member in good standing, "I replied, "and she is invited in a morgue stiff (5).

We shall need your guest 's beginning of Freud essentially(9).

Her signature, of course, and show us where usually not admitted but lawyers are (3) .

He led us to the bar where we sat at a small table. Pencils and the puzzle of the day were provided. "Where is the French novel (3,6,4)?" she asked.

" The women's' room is across the hall and down the stairs." She walked away looking back at me briefly with a wondrous smile, disappeared beyond the up staircase labelled Nein Down and was gone from sight.

Presently, she returned and we called over the waiter-

"But this scotch queen is made with vodka (7,4)", I said.

"I'll drink the lusty rain(5,4)", she said, looking into my eyes and not at the waiter.

He returned bringing us a Bloody Mary and a Rusty Nail . Over our drinks we talked and talked, always following the club rule about a clue in each sentence and a solution in the reply, until a throat clearing made us aware that hours had passed and it was closing time.

"Cri-y St-th-ammers (5,9)", I said

"Merry Christmas to all and to all a Sir Lancelot, we hear (4,5)", she said.

"Good Night" -said the porter.

We walked out in the softly falling snow, hand in hand, I mused that both our full names had fifteen letters and the middle letter was the same and that she could be 4 down and, I, 17 across in a 15 by 15 puzzle.

"Let's work out the rest of the puzzle together", she said,"It will take time; informal debt in tennis(1,4,3)"

I love you , too, I love you… …

(…sorry, but in love there are

no correct answers given next week )