Crossword writers often get stuck in “Wikipedia holes,” where you set off to research a clue for a certain word, then wind up spending 15 minutes reading fascinating articles, only to return to your puzzle…without even having come up with the clue you set out to find! It’s an interesting world out there, and crosswords touch on all aspects of it, so Wikipedia holes are an occupational hazard.

I certainly fell down one with last Monday’s puzzle. The PARALYMPIC Games were opening in Tokyo, and I needed a 10-letter sport to offset PARALYMPIC in the grid. So I hopped over to this Wikipedia page and began looking at events. Ideally I wanted a sport that wasn’t in the general Olympics, and my eyes hit upon Sitting Volleyball. I had never heard of it, but realized I could use the 10-letter VOLLEYBALL as the answer and put the SITTING part in the clue. But first, let me watch a few points…

…long story short, the sport was so intriguing that I wound up watching 30 minutes of it, mostly from the 2012 and 2016 women’s gold medal matches between the U.S. and China. The athleticism was amazing (check out this point) and the play of the game is unique and mesmerizing.

So yeah, I learned something and had a good time while doing so…but it took me 30 minutes to write one clue! Not sustainable in the long run, but occasionally worth it, as here.

Fall into any Wikipedia holes lately? Tweet them to #beastxword so we can all join you in one.

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