Friday, February 22, 2008

debates and puzzles. discuss.

the next president of the u.s. and his primary opponent were 5 miles away from here last night. about the most interesting thing about their debate, to me, was the setup. it was held in the university of texas gymnasium which holds about 43,000 people.

over 40,000 applied to attend, but cnn staged it to accomodate 2000. a few hundred university students were included by way of raffle and 100 ordinary citizens were granted entry. the rest? i dunno. pundits and very important poohbahs, i s'pose.

last week in the small east texas town of nacogdoches, the lovely josephine got to shake bill clinton's hand. i'm jealous. i wanted to at least see the visiting dignitaries.

the truth is, they could have filled the 85,000 seat stadium next door had they wanted to.

but it's just as well. the *debate* was pretty boring. sorta like a monday new york times crossword puzzle if you ask me: unique, impeccably structured, but too easy, and as a result, not very interesting. you do it because it's the nyt puzzle, because it's there - not for a challenge. not to learn anything really.

i mean, it's history in the makin', for god's sake. the first black and the first female american presidential candidates with a real chance to hold the office. ever. right here in downtown austin dukin' it out. how exciting is that? i'd have loved to have been there in person.

speaking of the nyt crossword...

my daughter sent me a care package right after my wreck. it was full of tasty treats, and books and stuff. (thanks, josephine)
one of the books is a collection of nyt x-words from 2003. i finished them a few days ago. when i say finished, i really mean i finished the thursday, friday and saturday ones.

i did a few of the monday ones and then started just filling in the theme portions until i got bored with that tact. then i did the rest in my head, without pen as much as possible. i found various ways to make the monday-wednesday ones challenging. or at least interesting. (see what i mean about comparing them to the presidential debate? i mean, i watched the rerun. at least parts of it. but i'm here to tell you...bor-ing. i'll take reruns of mayberry rfd over that piffle any day.)

now, the friday/saturday puzzles in this book were a whole different matter. the third to last one in the book, constructed by randolph ross, and of course edited by the inimitable will shortz, was my favorite by far. here it is:

can you see it?
you see the 4 long answers? 4 down, 24 across, 10 down and 52 across? pretty dang clever, huh?


(with clues)

i wish will shortz was in charge of staging the presidential debates. i think he'd do 'em up right. it would be fun to see a *monday night debate* and a *tuesday night debate* and so on. you could definitely fill up the the largest venue anywhere for a *saturday* quality debate. and just think of the advertising revenue, cnn!


Linda G said...

It's so very good to read your posts again, Rick. They are anything but boring.

I like the comparison between the debate and the NYT puzzle. You must be feeling better...or the pain meds don't do to you what they do to me ; )

Ellen said...

I never find the early-week NYT puzzles boring. Maybe it's just me.

cornbread hell said...

thanks linda. the good news is i barely need the meds anymore.

ellen - i've been known to exaggerate and i appreciate you calling me out on it. the *boring* comment was harsh.

as a matter of fact, i believe *things* are rarely if ever boring. when i hear someone say they're bored with something i can't help but think it's the bored person who must be boring, not the thing they're bored with.

i hope you'll come back and visit again. i obviously need someone to keep me in line.

josephine terese said...

you're in austin? i'm in austin! i came to vote. i will come by l&t's to see if you are there!

josephine terese said...

actually i thought the debate was pretty exciting. of course, i spend almost all of my time online reading about/watching videos about the election.
but did you see the part where hillz and barack had a total smackdown??
it was rough and b was totally the winner i think. if you are to see, go to
and watch that snippet.
if not, don't.
i'm voting later today at the heb on oltorf and congress! so excited.
does your phone work?

Peggy said...

Hooray , Everything is, "Jake", Ricks back..:)

cornbread hell said...

well, peggy, i'm tryin to get back anyway. so many 1/2 written posts held in fact, when you made this comment i was beginning yet another.

your enthusiasm is appreciated. and helpful. thanks.

oh & - very clever stuff with the "jake" thing. i'm impressed.