Flush It Friday: Cruciverbalists for a Cause


We already know that I like puzzles, as I wrote about Wordle, etc. in a previous Flush It Friday that I am too lazy to link. We already know that I like books, as I write about basically any time I write about anything for this site. We also know that I like to make myself look like a good person and virtue signal as much as possible in whatever way seems the loudest and also coolest.

So what a magical moment that the same month Anna Schechtman releases her first book The Riddles of the Sphinx: Inheriting the Feminist History of the Crossword Puzzle is the same month These Puzzles Fund Abortion start their fourth fundraising campaign. Crosswords! Books! Feminism! Abortion Rights! Nothing lousy about this Smarch weather.

In 2021, Schechtman published “Escaping into the Crossword Puzzle” in the New Yorker, where she also publishes two themeless puzzles a month. It’s an engaging, gorgeously written essay that interweaves her fascination with constructing crosswords and her anorexia. The Riddles of the Sphinx takes this essay as its starting point, allowing Schechtman the space to more deeply explore her history of disordered eating as well as the indelible roles played by women such as Ruth Hale, Margaret Farrar, Julia Penelope, and Ruth von Phul in the history of crossword puzzles. These histories are not uncomplicated, as these people themselves are not uncomplicated. Their political and social commitments were divergent and quixotic, meaning that they do not fit neatly into a simple story about a march of Feminist progress that is always linear and forward-moving. Schechtman is a generous and capacious thinker, offering rich and complex portrayals of these women while making connections back to her struggles with anorexia. The book is also full of wonderfully delightful facts and crossword ephemera. I mean, c’mon: the first book Simon & Schuster ever published was a book of crossword puzzles. What incredible trivia! What an amazing insight into the Crossword Craze and the history of major publishing in the U.S.

These Puzzles Fund Abortion is exactly what it sounds like: a group of constructors put together packets of puzzles to be purchased with that money split between five different abortion funds and reproductive justice organizations. You can also donate by buying a shirt, tank top, or sweatshirt via Bonfire. If you’re on Hinge in Atlanta, you might see a photo of your boy rockin’ a mean Tahiti Blue TPFA tank top while walkin’ the streets of Charm City in 2023. Just sayin’! TPFA has raised over $200K since 2021, are nearly at their 2024 goal of $50K and only have 30 shirts left. If you’ve got the extra scratch, get a shirt, get some puzzles, and then tell everyone about it so they know you’re a Good Person who does the Right Thing.

But before we do that, we gotta Flush. We just gotta.

The Monday Press and This Toilet Tuesday. We call that the Stick ‘n Rol’.

Joe and Jordan with another episode of Toilet Radio that Hans gave a solid 1 star!

Toilet Radio 487 – Millennial Rocker Blues

It’s Iron Goddess of Mercy! It’s Transcending Obscurity Records! It’s a new Replicant track! What more could you want?!

Exclusive Track Premiere: Replicant – “Nekrotunnel”

There it is! The week that was. You know what to do with those GBUs in the comments. I hope you all have beautiful weekends full of consensual kisses and hugs and maybe even a little somethin’ extra, if that’s what you’re into. But only if you’re married. No sinning!

Did you dig this? Take a second to support Toilet ov Hell on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!