A crossword in a newspaper consists of empty spaces arranged in rows and columns and a set of clues that lead you to words that fill these empty spaces. These clues are often accompanied with indicators such as '1-Down, 2-Across' and so on.
You have to start at some point and follow the links between words and try to find answers to the clues.
Life is a crossword. It presents you with questions and problems - similar to the empty spaces of the crossword. You have clues in the form of past experiences and people around you. And we all try, throughout our lives, to solve it.
Life is mean though. It rubs out the indicators. You get the clues, you need to know which clue is for what empty space and try to put it all together.
That's exactly why this crossword puzzle takes a bit longer than usual.