What will we do when we lose Will Shortz? Since 1987 he has provided public radio listeners with the weekly Sunday Puzzle and is editor of the New York Times crossword puzzle and the founder of the American Crossword Puzzle tournament. He is also the only person in the world with a degree in Enigmatology, the study of puzzles, which he received from Indiana University in 1974.
It is easy to want to make fun, or at least light of, Shortz and his fascination with puzzles. But consider for moment that Shortz' kinds of puzzles, intellectual, challenging, and most decidedly adult, are one of the ways in which smart people play. Puzzles are a bastion of safety and entertainment for nerds, number people, and punners. And puzzles are good for us; studies show that the brain needs to exercised just as much as the body to maintain healthy functioning as we age.
I saw Will Shortz speak at Indiana University in 2008. Not surprisingly, he made us do a puzzle; all ten thousand of us. People loved it. He went to great lengths to remind us that we are all unique individuals with our own interests and our own paths. It is good for us, and sometimes everyone else for us to follow our passions.
To Listen to the Sunday Puzzle:
Photo Courtesy of: