A new feature of our morning is Nate, concentrating at the kitchen table, working diligently on the daily Jumble. Nothing sums up Nate’s life better than a “word jumble,” mixed up letters waiting to be deciphered, sometimes easily, sometimes with great difficulty, sometimes not at all.
Nate works on his own until he needs us. “I’m having trouble with this word!” he shouts. He pronounces “word” as “woard.” Karen or I will come in to lend a hand. Often, Nate finds a correct answer, but his vocabulary isn’t large enough for him to be sure.
“Is ‘fervor’ a woard?”
“Yes, it is,” I say, and give him a quick definition he can file away.
The trickiest part is the joke question at the end. Nate gathers his circled letters and tries to make out the answer. It’s problematic. The key to those is in the humor and there’s much punning going on. He doesn’t get that kind of wordplay, so he always needs help. I’ve set him on the wrong path a few times, for instance, assuming the three-letter part of an answer was “bug.” Turned out “bugging him” was right, and Nate got it after “bug” became the apparent clue.
I’ve also tried to give him some hints. I always found that putting the letters in a circle made it easier to come up with different combinations. I’ll show him and explain, but—
“I’m having trouble with this woard!”
Oops, gotta go.