July 31st, 2007


So Maybe There’s More Than One Correct Answer

There’s a puzzle next to the comics in the Sun-Times called “Stickelers” authored by one Terry Stickels. The puzzles vary greatly in style and difficulty from day to day. Sometimes it’s a logic problem, sometimes math, sometimes linguistics, sometimes spatial relationships, etc.

A recurring type seen there is what Stickels calls “squeezer” puzzles. Here’s how they work: You have to find the one word that forms the end of one compound word and the beginning of another. For example, if the puzzle is
some _ _ _ _ piece
– then we’re looking for a four-letter word to put in there that forms two separate words. OK, time’s up – the missing word in this case is “time.”

The other day, a squeezer puzzle appeared that read like this:
safe _ _ _ _ _ house
I read the answer in today’s paper. The missing word, according to Stickels, was “guard” and I promptly burst out laughing as I read it. For when I had solved the puzzle the other day, I had written in the word “crack.”

I guess my urban roots are showing!
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How many Swedish directors can you name?

The iconic director Ingmar Bergman died yesterday, and I am not here to write any sort of comprehensive obituary or overview of his work, so you can all relax! I have seen various films of his over the years, but the ones I haven’t seen far outnumber the ones I have seen, so I will leave the more sweeping essays for others. And after all, trivia and other short attention span diversions are more my style.

I’ve read several articles about Bergman’s passing in the course of this day, and a couple of anecdotes really grabbed me. One involves a conversation Bergman had with British director David Lean. If that name isn’t familiar, Lean is most remembered for directing ambitious epics such as Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia, posing a sharp contrast with the more intimate dialogue-driven films of Bergman. Anyway, Lean and Bergman were comparing notes as to how they went about putting together a film crew. “I always work with 18 friends,” Bergman volunteered. “That's funny,” said Lean. “I work with 150 enemies.”

The other story is one that Liv Ullmann told to Roger Ebert. I quote here directly from Ebert’s article in today’s Sun-Times:

“When he was 60 years old, he celebrated his birthday on his island, on that beach. And my daughter was there; she was 5 years old. And he said to her, ‘When you are 60, what will you do then?’ She said, ‘I’ll have a big party, and my mother will be there. She’ll be really old and stupid and gawky, but it’s gonna be great.’ And he looked at her and said, ‘And what about me? Will I not be there?’ And the 5-year-old looked up at him and she said, ‘Well, you know, I’ll leave the party, and I’ll walk down to the beach and there on the waves, you will come dancing toward me.’ ”
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