Aric Egmont knew he had to calm down or he was going to blow it. After all, who breaks out into a flop sweat doing the crossword puzzle? If he didn’t relax, he was sure to clue his girlfriend, Jennie Bass, into the fact that this was no ordinary Sunday Boston Globe. This was his marriage proposal.
The two, both 29 — he’s in communications, she studies public health — had dated for four years and never seriously discussed marriage. Why mess up a good thing? went the thinking. But Aric had second thoughts. And since they were fanatics, he says, proposing via the tiny boxes of a crossword puzzle “was a more natural idea than it might seem to others.”
So last June he contacted the Globe and told them about his idea. They bit. Aric fed Globe puzzle writers Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon (who also create RD‘s Word Power column) personal info to be turned into clues, then he waited … for four torturous months.
On the morning of September 23, having not slept the entire night before, Aric nonchalantly asked Jennie, “Want to do the crossword puzzle?” He bolted downstairs and out the door, grabbed the paper, then ran up to their bedroom. Climbing back into bed, the two assumed their normal puzzle-solving pose, with Jennie leaning against him. Almost immediately, she was struck by the number of clues that matched up with people and places in her life.
Twenty across asked: “Lover of Theseus.” The answer was Ariadne, whose namesake is a friend of Jennie’s. Seventy-three across: “One of the Judds.” Naomi, also Jennie’s sister’s name. Ninety-one across: “NASCAR driver Almirola.” Answer: Aric.
Aric began scanning ahead to where the big clue was. “I knew the moment was coming,” he said. And there it was. One hundred eleven across: “Generic proposal.” Clever, he thought, a wordplay on Jen and Aric. The clue next to it was “Winston’s mother.”
“Look at that,” said Aric. “Will you marry me, Jennie.’” He waited for a reaction. He didn’t get one. Jennie is a smart person, smart enough to know all about Theseus’ love life, but this was information overload. So Aric produced a ring and, quoting the Boston Globe crossword puzzle, asked, “Will you marry me, Jennie?”
After tears and shrieks and lots of “I love you’s,” Jennie said yes.
“I’m not the most romantic person,” admits Aric. “I think I was playing above my head on this one.”
Then Romeo adds, “Hopefully, this will satisfy Jennie for a while.”