July 04, 2006

An olio

The "Charlie Rose" show featuring (in the second half) Will Shortz and Wordplay is available via Google Video. Play the show in your browser—Will's segment starts at the 36:00 mark, and you should be able to skip the first 35 minutes if you're not interested in Sydney Pollack's documentary on Frank Gehry.

Matt Gaffney's brand-new book, Gridlock, arrived Monday afternoon. I've read most of it already, and even if my name didn't appear in it (this here blog is quoted a couple times), I'd still recommend it. Matt's writing takes a warmly conversational tone, and the subjects he covers offer a nice addition to what we learn in Wordplay: this year's ACPT; a Farrar vs. Weng vs. Maleska vs. Shortz discussion; a constructing smackdown involving Matt, Frank Longo, Byron Walden, and Peter Gordon; an in-person interview with the elusive Henry Hook; a behind-the-scenes look at puzzle publishing from the magazine side; and the impact of packaging on crossword book sales (learn about the genesis of those teeny Sterling toilet-seat books).

While waiting for the fireworks show to start last night (Chicago's pyrotechnics are traditionally held on the 3rd of July), I came up with a Star Wars–based word game (my little boy is fond of the Lego Star Wars video game and talks incessantly of the characters—whose goofy names lend themselves to wordplay. I'll post that little game later tonight if I don't drowse off first.