- So long-time followers of the blog know I worship at the altar of Patrick Berry. For crying out loud, I know his work is so good, and I'm telling y'all it's that good, I feel at times this site has become the Patrick Berry fan club. Well, he's just about outdone himself with his latest book Puzzle Masterpieces. I don't even know where to begin. Okay, I do. For starters this book is handsome, almost too handsome to want to write in it. Patrick used to do graphic design, and it shows. Every one of these puzzles unique shapes is bold and striking. Even the hard cover, jacket and flyleaf designs are gorgeous. And while I'm here, the quality of the paper is a bit higher than most puzzle books. But you simply have to do the work, there is some jaw dropping beatiful grids in there. They're curvy, psychedlic, and yes, there's a couple standard boxy shaped ones too. My favorite variation is “Some Assembly Required” wherein the completed grid has been taken apart as “jigsaw pieces” which are also stand alone entries. For the most part, they're all themeless puzzles. That is to say loads of long entries, emphasis on the colorful stuff, deemphasis of the bad stuff. And for the most part, there's hardly any entries smaller than like six letters. So none of the tired repeaters in this one. So that means virtually every entry is some amazing wished-I-put-that-in-a-puzzle name/phrase/song title/etc. In his introduction, Patrick writes “I should point out that these puzzles are no more difficult than middle-of-the-week crosswords.” Middle of what week, Patrick? A Martian workweek? If there's only one complaint about the book (and it's a minor one) is that some of these puzzles are frigging tough. Really tough. But on the whole, that shouldn't discourage people (like the ones who are already coming to this site) to pick it up. Well recommended.
- I guess the cliche for writers is that they write what they know. All I know is that the theme for this one came about while putting the finishing touches on a trip out to Denver for next week. (Stalkers take note!) The moral is, inspiration strikes at odd times. I entertained the notion at one point to make this blog almost a diary/puzzle page. In a way I'd hoped that the puzzles would reflect what's going on in my life as much as the rambling. Then I thought about it, and I think I'm doing that anyway.
- I will be doing a DJ set tomorrow, March 26, from 8-10 P.M. on WMUA in Amherst, Mass. The show is “End of Radio,” so it's typical outsider stuff: dubstep, skronk, free jazz, grime, awkward silences. All the hallmarks of the typical college radio station. Interested parties who wish to listen in, can find the stream here.