Friday, May 14, 2010

Nervous Rex

Or at least he should be, entrusting his hugely popular New York Times crossword puzzle blog to a rank amateur like myself.

I'm talking, of course, about FOBB&B Rex Parker, the 44th Greatest Crossword Puzzle Solver in the Universe, who writes every day about the NYT puzzle.  Not only can he solve with the best of 'em, he's an opinionated and highly entertaining writer who is Googled as widely for his thoughts on the crossword as he is for the answers themselves.

Rex's grandmother just turned 90 and he's flying across the country this morning to celebrate with her in Idaho this weekend.  He's got excellent guest writers covering the Friday and Sunday puzzles and, for some reason, yours truly on Saturday.

Thanks for letting me sit in, Rex.  I feel like James Wormworth, manning the drum kit barefoot in Studio 6A while Max Weinberg tours with Bruce.  Happy 90th to Grandma Parker!


Elaine said...

Ben, you were great. I am regularly pilloried for being 'long-winded,' but only (I believe) by people who find writing one sentence to be excruciatingly trying. Your commentary was right on, humorous, apt, and wholly human. As best I can tell, everyone love it! I think I've said this before: you should be writing books.

I'd sign up as a Follower and a Fan--but I'm already registered!

Elaine said...

Oh, hell. If only I would proof-read.

Joon said...

you're not a rank amateur. well, i guess you are in the sense that you're not paid to blog (i assume). but you're a fine blogger and you did a fine job. honest, funny, and discursive: that's a good combination.

Elaine said...

Holy cow. Aren't you glad you aren't on the docket for the Sunday puzzle? The WordPlay comments are incendiary! Well, not all of them. (I'm Mean Old Lady on WordPlay-- arthritis kicking up the day I registered, I guess.)

Ben said...

Thanks, guys. It was a lot of fun to do and I am gratified by the warm response here and in my email and Facebook.

@Elaine, as to the Sunday puzzle: when Rex offered me my choice of Fri-Sat-Sun, I told him Friday or Saturday. I tend to prefer a more difficult puzzle, so as good as the NYT Sunday puzzles are, I don't often give them a look.

It was a good thing he didn't give me the Friday puzzle, since that would have killed my Friday workday. As it was I canceled two social options for Friday night and stayed up very late writing, and then editing it after I posted it. Canceled my Saturday tennis and caught up on sleep for most of my Saturday. It was somewhat overwhelming. Didn't have to become such a big thing but I wanted to do a good job and I tried really hard.

Plus since I tend to write long, a Sunday puzzle writeup in my hands would go from the novel I wrote about the Saturday puzzle to a full encyclopedia.

Ben said...

I will, however, take a look at today's puzzle so I can understand SethG's stint as Rex's guest blogger and the fiery Wordplay comments, not to mention the usual free-for-all at Rex's site.

Elaine said...

Hi, again. Here is my thought:

Your wonderful work ethic is a major strength; your wonderful work ethic is a minor flaw. (Guess how I know this.) No, but seriously-- your terrific way with words, humor, and facility all made you a natural as a blogger and as a sub for Rex. You did twice the job most people would have done, but it was all terrific fun for your audience. People who are not strongly verbal will want only half as much input. Pffft to them.

Trust me-- I'm not Mrs. Nice Guy, and I call 'em like I see 'em. I won't sugar anything up. (This may have had something to do with my difficult evaluations, shall we say.)

I'm a published book author. My total sum of wisdom is: it is easier to edit than it is to produce. So, those of us who are prolific are far ahead of those who strain to produce each paragraph. You're on the right track, and I pity the folk who are missing out on 'Ben Bass and Beyond.'