In today’s edition of Puzzles in Pop Culture, we visit two very different New England towns — Stars Hollow, Connecticut, and Sleepy Hollow, New York — in two very different TV shows.
Stars Hollow is the fictional setting of cancelled WB/CW drama Gilmore Girls, which spent seven seasons following the pop culture-fueled banter of mother/daughter team Lorelai and Rory Gilmore as they navigated relationships, family drama, and all the undeniable quirkiness of small-town America.
Sleepy Hollow is a very real town, but hopefully one unafflicted by headless horsemen, demonic plots, and a secret war against evil that’s been waged since the days of the American Revolution. At least that’s what’s going on in the fictional version of Sleepy Hollow in Fox’s eponymous TV show, now in its second season.
And, as it turns out, each has something interesting to say about crossword puzzles.
First, there’s this brief scene from Gilmore Girls, where Lorelai ponders both the challenge of crosswords and the social implications of NOT being a crossword solver:
Clearly Lorelai and Rory are crossword skeptics, or at the very least, indifferent to crosswords. But given that they’re staring at a collection of New York Times crossword puzzles, maybe they’re simply disillusioned after a few hard end-of-the-week puzzles.
The character of Henry Parrish from Sleepy Hollow, on the other hand, has much kinder things to say about crosswords.
He expressed himself quite eloquently in episode 10 of season 1, “The Golem.”
Lt. Abbie Mills: You doing crosswords?
Henry Parrish: As I said, it distracts me from my troubles. A good puzzle misleads you, it sends you in one direction, fools you into thinking you know what’s going on. But once you discover the trick, you see that’s there’s often a hidden meaning.
Now, there’s a man who has solved some quality crosswords in his time. Maybe he could recommend a few choice ones for the Gilmore girls.
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