Crossword plague?

It’s hard to know where to start with with this article by Ron Rosenbaum in Slate. It seems he became annoyed one day that the people sitting next to him at Starbucks were doing crosswords and sudokus. So he spends several pages deflating the pretensions of puzzle solvers:

I know that I’m a partisan divider, but to me it seems that puzzle people are fleeing from real puzzles—fleeing the complexity, the fear of the unknown, fleeing from the messiness of life that cannot be contained in a box, fleeing to an illusion of mastery and control. They’re control freaks seeking control of something worthless: “I can fill in a bunch of boxes with letters!”

Apparently, we should all be reading instead (imagine!) or thinking deep thoughts. And don’t get him started on Will Shortz: he might be the anti-Christ (Barack Obama will be relieved).

And yes, it’s meant to be funny. But it never occurs to him that puzzles are, you know, fun.

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3 Comments on “Crossword plague?”

  1. Troy Says:

    Well, he is obviously deranged. I hope at his next coffeehouse visit he is surrounded by folks yakking loudly on their cell phones.

  2. Colin M Says:

    Are what are people who read Slate doing exactly? Dealing with the real world?

  3. joelb Says:


    WWDTM is a “frequent obsession of puzzle people” who boast that it’s “mentally stimulating”? and here i thought people listen to it because Paula Poundstone and Mo Rocca are funny as hell (not to mention Adam Felber and Roy Blunt). i mean the whole “news quiz” is just a prop for setting up the guests’ jokes, right?

    btw, whenever the words “dinner party” appear that’s a pretty big warning sign that the rest of the article will be vacuous and bizzare.

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