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Thursday, September 25, 2008

"Times Puzzle is Clueless about McCain" (from Politico.com)

I would tell you all not to read the comments section of this article, but I know you won't be able to stop yourselves - there's about one sane voice for every five sad, angry shouters. I assume that the article was a bit of satire. The readers ... don't seem to think so. Thanks to Doug (in Brooklyn) for pointing this out.


PS to be fair, the commenters at the Huffingtonpost article about the politico.com article (really?) seem at least as humorless (or horribly unfunny) as their politico counterparts. Lots of stupid ranting and name-calling re: McCain. Lots of self-congratulatory bullshit about how anyone smart enough to do a puzzle will obviously vote for Obama, etc. Fewer grammatical errors on the Left, perhaps, but not much more insight (or joy, or humanity). Jeez louise, people, stop dehumanizing each other.


Orange 7:18 PM  

Wow, that's some hardcore humorlessness over there in the comments! David Levinson Wilk has published three books of his crosswords, with Wednesdayish difficulty and a lot of fun themes in "Really Clever Crosswords," the one I bought a couple years ago. It's a shame that his droll article landed on a rabid audience of political blog readers who couldn't take it at face value. I read blogs that include a good bit of politics, but not ones that are all politics, all the time. I can't stomach them. This week at the Crossword Fiend forums, someone asked if it was OK to skew political over there. Wow! Rex, it was instantly apparent to me that that would be a terrible idea, and I do get why you crack down mercilessly on political squabbles in the comments on your blog. If one side gets to have their say, then so does the other side—and then everyone's pissed off and has forgotten that crosswords can be a relaxing leisure-time activity.

Pardon the rambling. It may be the afternoon of beer talking.

green mantis 7:45 PM  

God, the vowel bias in the mainstream media is so sickening. I have been saying a long time that vowels are nothing but flip floppers. "And sometimes Y," anyone?

Sure, they form words well, but where's the substance?

Ulrich 7:54 PM  

@orange: I had a brief spell of commenting on political blogs of the general kind, i.e. those that are by their very nature not self-selecting, and gave up--it was perhaps the most frustrating thing I've done this and last year. They seem to bring out a disproportionate number of true crazies and abysmally ignorant people with oversized grudges--there is no way of having a rational conversation with those. It's actually worse than frustrating--it's really scary b/c these people will in all likelihood vote.

@rex: I totally support your monitoring of this stuff--and anything that may provoke it--it may spell the death of your blog as we know it.

Ah shucks--now I'm commenting on a blog about blogs, which I swore I would never do. But these are crazy times...

green mantis 9:25 PM  

Mm, yeah. The process of reading/participating in political blogs is somewhat analogous to the traditional stages of grief, except all five stages are anger.

Betsy the midwife 10:00 PM  

I only hope this was satire.

Crosswording is one of the little things in my life I look forward to on a daily basis. It helps me to focus and sometimes escape from the idiocies associated with the partisan world in which we live. It would be very sad if people truly believe such drivel.
I think I will attempt to construct my first word puzzle, and devote it to John McCain. I am not so sure how complimentary the clues will be. This is not the result of any partisan issues but because even if the original article was satirical, the responses were ludicrous.
Betsy the midwife

Bill from NJ 10:12 PM  

It seems to me that the word OBAMA is marginally more "constructor-friendly" than the word MCCAIN. The alternating vowels seem a little more promising than the double Cs.

Just sayin'.

mac 11:36 PM  

@orange, I agree with you, even though I think I was the troublemaker. I guess I was fired up after hearing this bright guy making sense of my instincts on what's going on. You can't compare your and Rex's blogs to the political ones, though. Just like Obama, we know our grammar.

foodie 12:40 AM  

I'm starting to appreciate the response that young women give about their ideal man, while batting their eyelashes: "Oh, and he has to have a sense of humor!" (read: on top of being a rich hunk). I guess humor is an even rarer commodity than the rich hunk combo...

Favorite (verbatim) quote from the comments:

"ANYWAY!, whos has time to do the NYT crossword puzzle, get a life!!!!"

KATHY D. 7:42 AM  

It's interesting to have a few political comments on this blog. But not to take it over.

We want to relax doing the puzzles and enjoy them, like reading a book or playing with a puppy or playing volleyball or something else distracting from the mundane, daily things of life--and the craziness of the elections and the economy.

PUZZLE BLOG NOW NOT PUNDITRY; that's my motto. (As someone who reads google news all day, the NY Times, and many other websites and blogs, I need a break, a diversion, and humor--which this blog offers.)

Kathy D.

PhillySolver 9:57 AM  

I thought the puzzle was challenging. I slipped in so many places. As was discussed yesterday, I completed this one bottom to top. AQI was unknown to me and I usually rely on three letter fill to help me with the long crosses. It went the other way last night. Waste and Paste were pretty good alternatives to BASTE and who knows, maybe WAKERS are home on the range. I was singing about the Dear and the Antelope in my head trying to recall a line about the roaming wakers.

Flash...Will Shortz has invited the candidates to sit down at noon and come up with an equitable crossword bailout plan. Peter G will be there.

jubjub 1:34 PM  

I'd like to believe the article is satire. If it is, it's funny, particularly the part about Palin not being well-known enough to make it in the puzzle. I watched the little video on the right of the author reiterating all the points in the article (for those too busy to read), and I didn't sense a wink to the audience in it.

I guess it doesn't matter, unless you're trying to judge whether the author is a moron or not. Perhaps he is a step beyond a brilliant satirist -- the article has something for everyone. For those of who don't think everything is about the liberal left conspiracy, it is a nice satire. For those who know that everything is part of the left's evil master plan, it is just more fodder for their outrage.

;) explicit wink ;)

william e emba 1:55 PM  

What I find so bizarre is that I don't really follow the news directly, just skimming tidbits. No TV, no radio, no TIME magazine, library copies of NYT getting just a skim (and a photocopy of the puzzle).

So while I no doubt had seen the Obama book at some point, he only entered into my conscious awareness because of the NYT crossword puzzle.

Now, if the NYT started giving clues like "One of the Keating 5" (no, not TITO) or "Troopergate Governor" I'd suspect bias. Until then, happy solving.

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