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'An Evening Out With Dad'

May 25, 2003|By Sue Alexander | Special to The Times
(Reuben Mu?oz, Los Angeles…)

When Rachel and Matt came home from school, their mother said, "Dad left a message for you on the answering machine."

Matt pressed the "play" button. Their father's voice said:

Hi Rachel and Matt. Mom is going to a meeting tonight, so the three of us are going out. I left an envelope for you on the table in the family room. It will tell you where we are going. Be ready by 6 p.m.

"I bet I know what's in the envelope," Matt said.

"I bet I do too," Rachel said.

She picked up the envelope and opened it. "We were right," she said. "It's a crossword puzzle." She pulled out two sheets of paper.

Rachel handed one to Matt. "You fill in the spaces this time," she said. "I'll read the clues."

"OK," Matt said. He got a pencil and sat down at the table. "Rachel," he said, "the clues in the note are in the order Dad wants us to solve them."

Rachel nodded.

"First clue," she said. "Number 4 across. You need one of these to get in."

Matt thought for a minute. He counted the spaces. He thought some more. Then he printed t-i-c-k-e-t in the spaces.

"That could be anything!" Rachel said. "A movie or a ... "

"Rachel, read the next clue," Matt said.

"All right," Rachel said. "Next clue. Number 5 across. Both of you like mustard and relish on these -- two words."

"That's easy!" Matt said.

"Remember," Rachel said. "there aren't any spaces between words in a crossword puzzle."

Matt nodded. And he printed the answer in the puzzle.

"Next clue," Rachel said. "Number 1 across. Lemonade goes in one of these."

She watched Matt print p-i-t-c-h-e-r in the proper spaces.

Matt looked at the puzzle. "Rachel," he said, "I think I know where we're going!"

"There are two more clues," Rachel said. "Here's the next one. Number 3 down. Eight people wear gloves. One person wears a ... "

Rachel looked at the puzzle. "It ends with a 'T,' " she said.

Matt grinned and printed the rest of the word.

"Last clue," Rachel said. "Number 2 down. There are usually nine of these."

Matt laughed. "I was right!" he said. "I know exactly where we're going!"

Rachel looked at the word Matt had printed in the puzzle. "So do I!" she said.

Do you know where Rachel, Matt and their dad are going?

Answers to puzzle: Number 4 across: ticket; Number 5 across: hot dogs; Number 1 across: pitcher; Number 3 down: mitt; Number 2 down: innings. (Rachel and Matt are going to a baseball game with their dad.)

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