DEAR MISS MANNERS: Often, when I'm in a waiting situation, such as in a doctor's office or on a long bus trip, I like to do pencil puzzles. The puzzles I choose are complicated and challenging, such as anagrams, cryptograms, cryptic crosswords, logic problems, etc.
Many times I have someone looking over my shoulder; as if this weren't bad enough, they want an explanation of the puzzle I'm working on. My first instinct is to say, "You wouldn't understand," which is probably true or they wouldn't have asked. I stifle such an answer as it sounds rude and condescending. Instead, I usually launch into a long explanation; halfway through the explanation they are confused enough or bored enough to leave me alone.
Can you suggest a kinder, gentler way to handle this?
GENTLE READER: By saying, "Sure -- please just wait until I finish it." You will probably be called into the doctor's office or reach your destination first, but Miss Manners assures you that your questioner will have long since been called away by the boredom of watching you moving your pencil around.