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May 04, 2017 10:19 AM

Completing a crossword puzzle rarely comes without a few erasures, fist-banging frustrations and tears — even for your favorite TV characters. Take a look back at these crossword puzzle moments in some of your favorite TV shows — and then try your hand at PEOPLE’s own puzzle on Crossword with Friends.


George (Jason Alexander) actually isn’t very busy at work, but to make his boss think he is, he constantly makes annoyed faces. The tactic works so well that George’s boss tells him he needs to relax, a suggestions he laughs off. But the following sequence of events — including an angry altercation with a crossword puzzle after his pen runs out of ink — proves it might actually be a good idea.

30 Rock

The crossword puzzle reference on 30 Rock isn’t just any crossword puzzle reference, but a PEOPLE-specific one! Jane Krakowski’s character, Jenna Maroney, can’t help but be excited about showing Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) that she’s a clue. Of course, as you might expect on 30 Rock, the line comes with a bit of a dig — Jenna says that the clue is “one across, five letters, Jenna Maroney’s first name,” which isn’t as much of a clue as it is telling you the answer. It’s okay, we can take the heat!


Friends has a number of crossword puzzle mentions — both relating to Jennifer Aniston’s character Rachel. In one episode, she finds Joey Tribbiani’s (a.k.a. Matt LeBlanc) name in the Soap Opera Digest crossword puzzle. In another, she attempts — and succeeds! — doing the New York Times crossword puzzle by herself. When she completes the task, which takes her an entire episode to do, she’s alone at Central Perk with no one to hug. (Though Gunther tries!)

The Hour

In the British mini-series, crossword puzzles aren’t just an activity, but a real part of the plot. A beloved hobby of the main character, Ben Whishaw’s Freddie, puzzles serve as a way for the characters to flirt, keep the chatter going in the office and even communicate hidden messages.

The Simpsons

Hoping to start a lemonade stand, Homer and Lisa Simpson head to the Springfield licensing bureau to obtain the necessary permits in the episode “Homer and Lisa Exchange Cross Words.” When the line is held up by an inattentive clerk, who is doing a crossword puzzle, Lisa heads to the front to finish it and get the line moving. She ends up obsessed with completing puzzles and enters a crossword puzzle tournament, which she ends up intentionally losing after learning her father bet against her, starting a (short-lived) feud between the pair.

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