Crossword maker searches for missing daughter
Local puzzle maker Albert Cross was greeted at his humble home in Springfield by an unfamiliar guest late Sunday night. Hearing rustling from inside the house, Cross grabbed his metal baseball bat from the garage and proceeded to open his front door. It was then that he heard the word that made his career worth it: “Dad?!”
Unbeknownst to the townspeople of Springfield, Albert Cross had been using the “Funday Crossword” to communicate clues in order to locate his long-lost daughter. Formerly a computer scientist, Cross left his senior position at Microsoft ten years ago to become the Springfield Puzzlemaster.
“I had a realization that life wasn’t a game and she wasn’t going to magically show up if I kept working at Microsoft. I had to take life into my own hands if I really wanted to find her. I saw the Puzzlemaster opening in the paper and decided that the Funday Crossword would be the perfect medium for that. It’s very popular,” Cross said.
Elaine Cross, Albert’s wife, said their biological daughter had been switched at birth due to nurse malpractice. Elaine was adamant that even though their daughter Jessica was not their birth child, she is still their only daughter. Jessica is 35 now.
“I honestly forget that we technically have another daughter out there somewhere,” Elaine said.
Responses to the news has been mixed. While some people relish in the romantic nature of Cross’s plight, others are less enthusiastic.
“He’s a dirty thief! The Funday Crossword is a sacred space where I would prove my intellectual superiority over my wife. It’s supposed to tear families apart, not bring them together. Not cool!” Jason Palmer, 45, said.
“I always wondered about the clues that were often very personal like, ‘my favorite season to eat ice cream’ or ‘the type of meat that makes you nauseous and cranky’… seriously, how would anyone know this?” Belisa Middleton, 37, said.
Jeffrey Le, 27, was able to complete all the weekly Funday Crosswords consistently for the last nine years. Coincidentally, when Jeffrey turned 18, he had found out through a blood test that he had been adopted by his parents, both nurses.
“Since then, I’ve been trying to figure out who I really am. The Funday Crossword has really helped with that. I figured out what meat makes me nauseous, what my favorite color is, the time of day I like to sing… among other things,” Le said.
After establishing a weekly habit of doing the Funday Crossword, Le said that over time he had developed a personal attachment to the puzzle.
“I had a feeling that the puzzle was trying to communicate to me. But I didn’t want to act on it because I wasn’t sure. I knew I had to visit when the answer for question five across, ‘something that I think we both would like to do,’ was ‘Meet’.”
Le said he was so moved after finishing the puzzle that he knew for sure his father was trying to communicate with him. Le was ultimately the unfamiliar face outside the Cross household last Sunday evening.
Unfortunately, Cross had been trying to communicate to a lost daughter, rather than a son. After realizing this, as well as the fact that that the Crosses are half Haitian and not half Chinese, it became clear to Le that Albert was not his father.
“I was so excited. But then almost instantaneously so disappointed,” Cross said.
“It was very awkward,” Le said.
After all is said and done, the fate of the Funday Crossword remains unclear. The Springfield Times put out an official statement, vowing to make the Funday Puzzle less cryptic and more accessible. Cross has begun searching for his lost daughter through more conventional means.
“I have just found out that Craigslist has a whole section to help people reconnect. And you can use Google to find the exact whereabouts of anyone. I can’t believe it took me this long!” he said.
Michele Hau is a sophomore culture and communications major who knows that newspaper puzzles will live on even after print media is dead. You can email her at [email protected].