The X-factor

A Friday finish this week: I finished this week’s Listener puzzle, “The X-factor”, a little after 11 pm. It’s a numerical and an ingenious one with a lot of subtle deductions to be made along the way. Very tough at first — I think after my lunch hour I’d identified the value of one letter and filled one cell in the grid. But the pace picked up steadily as I chipped more and more of it away and I must have filled in the last quarter or so of the grid in under fifteen minutes.

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This, of Course, Comes from One of Our Most Distinguished Teetotalers

According to the Chicago Tribune, Justice Clarence Thomas recently gave a speech in Georgia in which he stated that those who criticize the Supreme Court are either illiterate or lazy and that

… the downward spiral of public discourse from people who are “drunk on their own opinions” must come to an end.

Great, a Supreme Court justice says we need to put an end to all this unrestrained freedom of public discourse. Why did we ever bother fighting the Cold War anyway?

Quote of the Day

From the current issue of Vanity Fair:

Don’t say that as a boy your grandmother used to read to you, unless at that stage of her life she really was a boy, in which case you have probably thrown away a better intro.

— Christopher Hitchens

Obituary of the Day

Ellen Harper McGarr wrote her own obituary as she was dying of cancer, and it’s lovely. A couple of lines:

Interestingly, she took in stride her many years in Northern cities, perhaps because she was able to meet Southerners wherever she went. Sadly, she stopped making homemade mayonnaise and began to put dark meat in her chicken salad, but she did remember how to set a table. While in Philadelphia, Miss McGarr met her long-time companion, Miss Judy Troyer, with whom she would share many lovely vacations and several questionable real estate transactions.