One of my friends will enthusiastically tell somebody something like: "this is the guy I was telling you about who does the New York Times Crossword!" And then I'll have to clarify: "yes, I definitely do the Times puzzle -- everyday even. And I write them every now and again, too."
But then again, the friend's statement is also very true. I'm pretty much always doing puzzles. Aside from doing every puzzle in in the Times and The Sun, I'll admit it, I'm a pretty massive Sudoku nut. I was on a kick for a while where I was tearing out pages from Frank Longo's insanely hard Sudoku books and carrying them around, filling them in while waiting for the subway to come/latte to be made/Liz to finish shopping/etc. I'm just basically a solving machine.
I guess I always felt a constructor should keep abreast of what the other people in the puzzle business are doing. All of my friends who are writers devour novels, my acting friends just cruise through movies non-stop, and the musicians all have tinnitus from going to too many shows. Makes sense that us puzzlemakers should be doing stuff all the time too, right?
Shouldn't us puzzlemakers should have interdisciplinary talents as well? A crossword nowadays shouldn't just be a rote exercise in vocabulary.
I remember one year at a puzzling convention (Yes, we have conventions; yes, they're not unlike "Star Trek" conventions; and yes, I once had a few too many at a party and attempted to throw a TV out the window), I was chatting with another constructor Liz Gorski. She's a professional violinist in addition to making some pretty impressive meta-themed Sunday puzles. Anyway we were talking shop, and she said something along the lines of "it's pretty obvious you're a voracious reader."
The statement floored me. Can I talk the paint off the wall about all sorts of music popular and otherwise? Yeah. Probably a little too much, so. All the European capital cities and facts about the Civil war have been replaced in my brain by scores of Guided By Voices lyrics. But do I really come across as literary? I don't think I'm any more of a reader than the average person.
There was a good chance Liz was just being silly. I'm just hoping that my work represents a total immersion of all my interests, non-puzzling and otherwise.Okay, that's it for now. New puzzle on Friday.