Monthly Archive for April, 2016

Right Again

goldwaterWe already knew that Barry Goldwater was a man of vision, but who until now recognized the clarity with which he managed to foresee, fifty-three years in advance, the election results of April 26, 2016?

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Small World

globeToday, in a moment of idleness and nostalgia, I tried Googling an old girlfriend I haven’t seen or heard from in decades. She has a very common name, so she’s hard to Google. I’ve tried a few times in the past, and have always failed.

Today, though, I found her. A few minor clues helped me pick her out from the dozens of others with the same name. There wasn’t much. I still don’t know where she lives, and I still don’t know if she has a family. The one and only thing I’ve learned is that she was the screenwriter for two short films, both by the same director.

So of course I Googled that director. The first hit was a list of all his movies, in order of their rankings on IMDB, with cast listings for each movie. The top-billed cast member on the top-rated movie was — (drumroll!) — my son-in-law.

No, there is no conceivable connection between the ex-girlfriend, who I lost touch with when my son-in-law was something like an infant, and the son-in-law himself. No, the ex-girlfriend never lived in the city where I and the son-in-law live now, or in any other city he’s lived in. Yes, I was vaguely aware that my son-in-law was involved with moviemaking as a serious hobby, and somewhat more vaguely aware that he might have done some acting as part of that hobby. That’s all I’ve got.

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Crossword Results

The results of the latest crossword contest:

Paul Epps and Alan Gunn submitted perfect solutions and therefore tied for first place.

Dan Christensen ran a close second with two incorrect letters, both in 15 across, and John Faben ran a close third with three incorrect letters, all in 35 across (which is too bad, because I’m rather fond of 35 across).

All four have earned signed books of their choice ( The Big Questions, The Armchair Economist, Fair Play, or More Sex is Safer Sex) — if you’re a winner, email me your selection and mailing address.

I’m electing not to post the solution in deference to others who might come along and prefer no-spoilers. But if there’s debate about a particular entry or two, I’m happy to engage.

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Quick Crossword Update

I realize I’m overdue to announce the winners of the crossword contest from last week. I promise to get to this before the weekend!

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Robin Hanson!!

If you happen to be in the Rochester, New York area, you’ll want to know that the esteemed Robin Hanson, proprietor of the endlessly fascinating Overcoming Bias blog will be delivering the Lawrence Goldberg Memorial lecture, based on his new book The Age of Em this Monday, April 18, at 7:30 PM in Dewey 1-101 on the University of Rochester campus. The general public is warmly welcome.

(Click poster to enlarge.)

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Monday Puzzle

Have at it:

Click on the image to solve the puzzle. You’ll see a “save” button in the upper left in case you want to save your work and return to it later, and a “Submit” button if you want to submit your solution for judging. The three closest-to-perfect solutions will be acknowledged in this space and will receive appropriate rewards after the passage of a decent time interval (the length of which will be determined partly by the speed at which solutions arrive, but ought to be about a week).

Please try to keep spoilers out of the comments.

The rules are basically London Times rules:

  1. In most cases, there are two clues next to each other, one a straightforward definition and the other involving some wordplay. Part of your job is to figure out where one clue ends and the other begins. Example: “You could worship this mad dog” is a clue for GOD — “You could worship this” being the straight definition and “mad dog” being the wordplay. (Either could come first).
  2. Unlike in many American cryptics, there is sometimes a small connecting word that is not properly part of either clue.
  3. Internal punctuation means nothing. A question mark at the end of a clue is usually an acknowledgement that the clue is pretty lame. An exclamation point at the end usually means that the two clues overlap each other.
  4. Unlike in many American cryptics, not all clues are required to follow the above rules. There might be a few that deviate substantially, but in every case, once you know the solution, you ought to be able to say “Aha! I see how that’s a clue for that!”.

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