Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Puzzle Master Coming to Town

If you're into crossword puzzles--and I confess that I'm not and never have been--you can catch the grand guru of the realm, Will Shortz, in Cleveland later this month. Unfortunately, it'll cost you handsomely: tickets for the Cuyahoga County Public Library Foundation fundraiser are $150 each. But then, it's for one of the best possible causes. Shortz is the celebrated crossword editor of the New York Times, as well as the puzzle master of NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday. I have to admit to a terrible bias when it comes to crossword puzzles (it's not unlike the bias I have against people who insist on letting you know about about their membership in the Mensa Society), or more precisely, those who do them regularly. While I love words as much as anyone, I've always harbored the suspicion that for many puzzle fans, the exercise seems to be at least as much about proclaiming their intellectual bona fides as it is about sharpening their word skills. Am I wrong? Please, crossword puzzle fans (and Mensa folks too), let me hear from you. And by all means, don't hesitate to heap upon me the abuse which I so richly deserve. Shortz, by the way, sounds like a wonderfully delightful guy (he's a native of Indiana), judging by the occasional snatches I see and hear of him on TV & radio.


At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Mr. Bluster said...

Will Shortz can be seen in the entertaining documentary, "Wordplay". Cameos by Bill Clinton and Jon Stewart.

Since I am posting anonymously here (Mr. Bluster is a nom de plume, what a surprise,) I'll own up to having been a Mensa member. (I didn't get dumber, just didn't pay my dues.)

I never mention it in "real life", because "proclaiming intellectual bona fides" tends to make people say or think, "If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?" And when you do or say something stupid, you look especially bad. It's a lose/lose proposition.

I like to do a crossword occasionally, but not every day. Lots of Mensa folks are all about the puzzles, but Mensa is a far cry from the freewheeling resource that its creators envisioned. There is quite a bit of horn-tooting associated with membership, in my opinion.

At 5:32 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I like your way better: being a member, but mostly keeping it to yourself. Good for you.


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