Orion Reads
a diary of books etc.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

DFW, Blindness, Crossword

I finally finished you-know-whom's A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. I'm not sure why it took me so long to finish, it's an excellent book, i was laughing right up thru the very last paragraph.

Sarah handed me Blindness by Josè Saramago, translated from the Portuguese. She said that it's a really good book but i might not like it because it's so depressing, which is always enticing so i'm looking forward to it. It won the Nobel Prize in 1998. The Boston Globe has a blurb on the *front* cover which reads "A shattering work by a literary master". - I thought 'shattering' had been outlawed from book-cover-blurb use ?

I spent several hours yesterday making a Crossword puzzle. Have you ever tried to make a crossword ? It's incredibly difficult*. Even using such phenomenal resources as oneacross.com and onelook.com, which allow you to search for all words matching a given pattern (eg at onelook, "*nz?l" will get you a list containing benzyl, hanzel, and if it were a famous word, elenzil) it's still really tough. So basically my crossword is going to have a lot of clues like "A greek prophecy dispenser, misspelt", and tons of acronyms. But still, it's fun. At 17x17 i think this is the largest one i've ever made, and i think it has the fewest black squares too. I'll post it here once the clues are ready.

* The real difficulty is in maintaining symmetry in the black squares. If that weren't a requirement, it'd be relatively straight-forward. I've looked at various crossword-making softwares out there, but they're not so great. The main problem is the wordlists. Even if they've got immense wordlists (which they don't), you're still not choosing the words yourself. How folks made crosswords back before not only there was oneacross but before computers is entirely astounding to me.


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