Though it sounds like I'm complaining about it, rock climbing was a blast. Especially from a puzzler's standpoint. Each unfortunately-named route was given a level of difficulty based on the single-hardest move to the top. (I say “unfortunately-named” because it seemed like all routes were all named after some drug/hippie bullshit like “Joint Distribution,” “The Bone,” The Snort” and “Overdose.” How high were you guys when you named them?) There were times when I'd get to that difficult move, possibly a good couple feet off the ground, definitely held up with Peter's jury-rigged belaying, and I'd just freeze.
“How the hell am I supposed to get over there when I'm stuck on the rock here?”
This happens nearly all the time while making crosswords. I have since lost track of the numbers of times I have struggled, grappled, rejiggered, stuggled some more, re-grappled, scrapped everything, re-re-grappled, and finally burst through the “impossible” corner of an interlocking mass of chunky long entries only to look on in horror at the symmetrically opposed, no-less-equally-daunting corresponding corner.
“How the hell am I supposed to do that after just doing this corner?”
We don't rock climb any more. But I would, if asked again. Peter has since secured his dream job as contributing editor to a major dictionary. And maybe when that infamous “Brendan Emmett Quigley's All-Time, Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger, More American, All-Killer No Filler” anthology of strictly my tour de force work comes out, I can ask somebody like him to reflect on the work. Write liner notes, perhaps. Maybe he could even title some of the trickier corners things like “Bongtacular” or “Dimebag Paranoia Wordapalooza Surprise.”