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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, now living in "Portlandia"!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dan Feyer, my "puzzle-ganger"

This seems to be the week for news stories apparently from far outside the Janeite universe, which nonetheless eerily resonate to my own Janeite research.

First it was the scientist who may or may not have discovered a radically different form of arsenic-based life on earth, and now it is the musician who seems to be as obsessed with crossword puzzles as I am with literary sleuthing:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/07/science/07profile.html?hp

What's also cool is that he must have been there at the same American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in New Haven 3 years ago, which I competed in (and was very happy to come in #300 out of 700, up against so many virtuosos of puzzle-solving).

Here is one quote from the article that just might remind some people of myself:

“It hasn’t taken over my life or anything,” he said, then added, “I don’t think.”

To which I reply, "Yeah, right!"

And this one, too:

"What they all have in common, he said, is pattern recognition — as he begins filling in a puzzle grid, he starts recognizing what the words are likely to be, even without looking at the clues, based on just a few letters."

That's exactly what I have been saying all along, which is that my crossword puzzle solving prepared me for the (in my opinion) much more subtle, and rewarding, task of pattern recognition of shadow stories in literature.

When I finish a great crossword puzzle, I have a feeling of great satisfaction, but nothing grander. When I find something new in my literary sleuthing (today, it was solidifying the connection I mentioned on Saturday, which I do plan to blog about tomorrow sometime), I feel closer to the giants of the literary past, whose secrets are slowly but surely coming within my grasp.

Cheers, ARNIE

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