Diddakoi Walt Whitman
Take me home...St Emilion  kay@diddakoi.com

Updated: 06/21/06

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"Flesh and Blood"
by Michael Cunningham



Wednesday, 21 June, 2006

Happy summer! And welcome to decreasing daylight hours. *SOB*

Not much to report. Pain is much less, with infrequent bad periods, strangely coinciding with the times when I overdo or engage in some physical activity like sweeping up all the trash and leaves on the sidewalk. But even then it mostly comes back as a deep ache rather than stabbing pain.

I do have pain if I probe the back of my shoulder with my fingers. That sounds like that old joke:

Patient: "Doctor, I have pain when I do this."

Doctor: "Then don't do that."

Unfortunately, this means that at least for the near future I will not be able to have back massages, which is a CRIME. I had one at the Virgin lounge at Heathrow on my way back to the states from London last time, and it was lovely.


Interesting story on the New York Times Crossword Editor, Will Shortz. He's been doing this a LONG time, and even convinced Indiana University to let him pursue an independent major in enigmatology (the study of puzzles) some 30 years ago.

You'd think the life of the world's premier crossword puzzle editor would be, well, fun and games. But consider this: Make one little mistake, and a world of hungry word fanatics is waiting to pounce.

For Will Shortz, longtime editor of the New York Times crossword puzzle and now subject of the new documentary "Wordplay," those moments come very rarely, maybe a dozen times a year. But they burn. Like when, sometime in the late '90s, he wrote the clue "Louisville landmark."

The 9-letter word was RUPPARENA. That's Rupp Arena, in Lexington, Ky., not Louisville. But an overly hasty Internet search steered him wrong. The bad clue went out, and the mail flowed in.

"For a week, I thought I was the only person in the country that didn't know the Rupp Arena was in Lexington," Shortz says in an interview, wincing visibly at the memory.

Mostly though, Shortz gets it right he writes over 30,000 clues a year and he's a hero to untold numbers of puzzle addicts, among them a former president (Bill Clinton) and a popular comic (Jon Stewart). And now "Wordplay," which opens nationwide on Friday, is shining a spotlight on a man who's a household name to many (he's also National Public Radio's "Puzzle Master") but would hardly be recognizable on the street, and doesn't even have an assistant to help answer his mail.

I wondered how he was dealing with the Sudoku craze. Apparently just fine:

He has 27 Sudoku books on the market, according to his editors, the largest market share of any author. Put another way, he's got 5 million copies in print, and another million rolling off the presses. Which is surely a lot of money in the bank "you can do the math," is all he'll say for a man who got into puzzles for love, assuming he'd be poor, but happy.

[Good for him.]


[Only 7,202 more needed for our wine cellar wall.]

Quote du jour:

"The art of simplicity is a puzzle of complexity."

Doug Horton

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