What It Means To Puzzle

Josh Spilker
2 min readSep 10

It started simply enough, as all new obsessions do.

One simple tweet.

Then a click.

My Twitter friend Bryan Harvey posted something with a grid.

It was a puzzle featuring my favorite sport, the NBA.

HoopGrids? Say what?

I quickly clicked over and realized it’s like your own personal trivia for basketball players. HoopGrids is a simple game, a crossword puzzle.

Or Wordle for the NBA.

I quickly sent it to my basketball text thread.

They were immediately into it for the slow season of the NBA, that is the late summer.

This has been a lifesaver for the text thread. Otherwise, it would be bleak. Very.

A quick word on puzzles and games:

  • My grandma and my great-grandmother used to work on crossword puzzles all the time, like stacks and stacks of crossword books (pre-Internet) and they would underline key passages, and know a lot of three-letter answers (similar to Scrabble in that regard) and the crossword puzzle would come every day in the newspaper and they would do it.
  • I once asked if they ever checked their answers, but they never did. They knew if they got it right or not.
  • Then my great-grandmother passed away, and my grandma kept doing it, but I don’t think she still does it or gets the newspaper anymore, but she’s still in the same house, I went there a few months ago
  • The trivia aspect of both crosswords and HoopGrid is important. It makes us feel like all of the random knowledge accumulation wasn’t a waste
  • There’s a certain personality for it, for sure, somewhat erudite, somewhat arrogant
  • But puzzles: My wife plays a Candy Crush-like game almost every night

There’s an accomplishment, there’s an achievement, there’s genuine satisfaction in the pieces fitting together when nothing else in life quite works that way.

It’s not messy, it’s straightforward. There is a right answer.

The same with crossword puzzles. The same with HoopGrids.

Originally published at https://joshspilker.substack.com.

I share about writing, culture, and creativity. Get my newsletter every Saturday.

Josh Spilker

Startup writer & marketer. You can 10x your writing & note-taking: joshspilker.gumroad.com