I prefer ink to pencil.

(Yes, that’s a tattoo of a Where’s Waldo? scene.)

A buddy of mine was showing off his latest tattoo the other day.

Naturally, this led to everyone in the group showing off their choicest pieces of body art.

And then other people at the coffeeshop joined in. Total strangers lifted sleeves and doffed shirts to show off their tattoos.

At one point, I was pretty sure every inked person in a 3-mile radius was there, and I was awash in butterflies and tribal patterns, cursive script and symbolic tributes to loved ones.

I was the odd man out, seeing as I have no tattoos to compare and/or flaunt, as the case may be.

I’ve got nothing against tattoos. I think they’re cool, actually, and they can be creative and artistic (and just plain badass). Obviously, many of my friends are tatted up. I just haven’t taken the plunge yet, and I don’t know that I ever will.

But I do have plenty of ideas for tattoos.

They range from the nerdy to the esoteric:

–Luke Skywalker’s severed hand, still clutching Anakin’s old lightsaber, with the words “Never Forget” underneath.

–A teddy bear with a hatch open in its belly, revealing a little green man as a pilot

–A chainsaw with the word Groovy along the chainbar

–A globe made of LEGO bricks

–Zombie Lincoln, surrounded by campaign signs

–Silhouettes of a man and woman tangoing across a crossword grid floor

And that last one got me thinking. I’ve seen plenty of tattoos honoring fandom and hobbies. From movies and TV shows to literature and music, but I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a puzzle-centric tattoo in the wild that wasn’t a jigsaw puzzle piece. (Surprisingly common, as it turns out.)

So, I did a small incantation, tossed a little salt around, and summoned a helpful imp to search the Internet for me. That imp is better known as “Google Image Search”.

And I turned up quite a few puzzle-themed tattoos! Check it out!

Here’s a fresh shot of an asymmetrical puzzle grid. (And it’s 12 x 12 boxes too. Definitely a personalized grid.)

A lot of crossword-style tattoos I discovered involve answers with a personal connection: the names of children, family members, hobbies, accomplishments, etc.

This one is a particularly lovely example of the above style.

And, of course, here’s a nod to the most legendary and infamous crossword of all, The New York Times Crossword.

This one is probably my favorite. (Except for the Connect-the-Dots giraffe tattoo I found while searching.) I love the idea that lurking just beneath the surface is a puzzle fiend, easily recognized by all and sundry. =)

And here’s a Sudoku! Perfect for lazy days at the beach.

Why, the possibilities are endless! Maybe I could get the Diggin’ Words dogs along the inside of my forearm, or a cryptogram of a favorite Mark Twain quote along my calf! Or the PuzzleNation logo on my forehead! It’s free advertising!

Yeah, it’s probably best that I remain tattooless for now. But in the meantime, I can keep calm and puzzle on, and I suggest you do the same. Until next time…

1 thought on “I prefer ink to pencil.

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