All posts tagged: past December

Take Crossword Puzzles Seriously – The Atlantic

Take Crossword Puzzles Seriously – The Atlantic

This past December, I threw a party to celebrate a major milestone in my life: the 1,000th day of my New York Times crossword-solving streak. My friends, none of them fellow cruciverbalists, poured in wearing their black-and-white best, armed with outsize praise for my presumed intelligence: How smart I must be to complete the Times puzzle every day! Their comments affirmed that the crossword—and particularly the Times one—carries a certain mystique. For 1,000 consecutive days, I had passed this bourgeois aptitude test, proving my linguistic and cultural acumen in my guests’ eyes. Since its invention in 1913, the modern American crossword puzzle has undergone something of a reputational shift, from frivolous distraction to status symbol. In reality, the crossword is many things: a site of play, a cultural forum, a daily pleasure. And, because it traffics in language—the stuff people use to form identity, signal belonging, and ostracize others—it’s also a political entity. The writer and crossword constructor Anna Shechtman knows that casting such a pastime as political might sound ridiculous. As she writes in …

Take Crossword Puzzles Seriously – The Atlantic

Take Crossword Puzzles Seriously – The Atlantic

This past December, I threw a party to celebrate a major milestone in my life: the 1,000th day of my New York Times crossword-solving streak. My friends, none of them fellow cruciverbalists, poured in wearing their black-and-white best, armed with outsize praise for my presumed intelligence: How smart I must be to complete the Times puzzle every day! Their comments affirmed that the crossword—and particularly the Times one—carries a certain mystique. For 1,000 consecutive days, I had passed this bourgeois aptitude test, proving my linguistic and cultural acumen in my guests’ eyes. Since its invention in 1913, the modern American crossword puzzle has undergone something of a reputational shift, from frivolous distraction to status symbol. In reality, the crossword is many things: a site of play, a cultural forum, a daily pleasure. And, because it traffics in language—the stuff people use to form identity, signal belonging, and ostracize others—it’s also a political entity. The writer and crossword constructor Anna Shechtman knows that casting such a pastime as political might sound ridiculous. As she writes in …

The New Musk Biography Is a Distraction

The New Musk Biography Is a Distraction

This past December, Elon Musk’s extended family gathered for Christmas. As was their tradition, they pondered a question of the year, which seemed strategically designed for Elon to answer: “What regrets do you have?” By that point in 2022, Musk had personally intervened in Russia’s war by controlling Ukraine’s internet access; had failed to tell his on-and-off girlfriend and co-parent Grimes that he had also fathered twins with one of his employees, and had been forced by a judge to follow through on a $44 billion purchase of Twitter; then fired most of its staff and alienated most of its advertisers. His main regret, he told his family, according to an account in Walter Isaacson’s new biography, Elon Musk, “is how often I stab myself in the thigh with a fork, how often I shoot my own feet and stab myself in the eye.” In Isaacson’s study of the world’s richest man, the reader is consistently reminded that Musk is powerless over his own impulses. Musk cannot control his desperate need to stir up drama …