Guest Blogger: Conor Kennedy '14

AIC students meet nerd hero

SEPTEMBER 28, 2012

For a nerd like me, The New York Times crossword editor, Will Shortz, shares a tier of stardom with the likes of Zooey Deschanel and Patton Oswalt. So, imagine my excitement when I learned that Mr. Shortz would be coming to speak at Springfield Symphony Hall. During an on-campus screening of Wordplay, a documentary about Will Shortz and crossword culture, Professor Tom Maulucci asked me if I was interested in meeting Mr. Shortz. I think I instantly blacked out from excitement, but it seems that I managed to produce some form of a "yes."

Before the show, we went to the Sheraton for some light revelry. Cash bar? Chicken francaise? Will Shortz? Springfield Public Forum... you had me at hello. Finally, I met the man who maintains the gold standard of crosswords. The only way I could have been more satisfied with the interaction is if he asked to come to my apartment and play Nintendo 64 with me.

After dinner we walked over to Symphony Hall. I was excited just to be there for the event, but when you roll out with Dr. Maulucci (who was horrified at the notion of being called "Lucc") you sit front and center. Mr. Shortz entertained the audience with a brief history of crosswords and described his all-time favorite puzzles. Then it was time for the word games.

Mr. Shortz prepared us by dividing the audience into two teams, and appointed me captain of one team. This may not sound like a big deal to you, but to me it means that Mr. Shortz thinks I'm cool that and he only came to Springfield to meet me and become my best friend. The word games session was as fun as I thought it would be. Anagramming, shouting, and dancing around like an idiot: the ideal response to meeting a minor hero.

Dr. Maulucci and Springfield Public Forum provided me an excellent night that only left me with one concern: can the upcoming night-out for the Warren/Brown debate meet this ambitious precedent?

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