Guest Blogging Moment of Fame

I had an exciting morning today, because I got the supreme honor of guest-blogging for one of my most favorite heroes: Rex Parker.

It doesn’t link to the direct page, so it will only be at the top for a scant few hours before tomorrow’s puzzle bumps it down a notch. If you want to find it in the future, you may be able to search by date, Tuesday, June 25. As if you’re that determined.

I got this chance in part because I helped out test-solving things for his wonderful Red Crossword project, in which he scared up a group of excellent world-class crossword constructors to donate an original puzzle and raise money for Hurricane Sandy victims. Also I was in the right place at the right time, and replied right away when he asked for volunteers. I was all “pick me! pick me!” And he did! Wowza.

Anyway, this was like being called up to the majors. On a good day I have 1,000 readers here. On a good day, Rex Parker has more like 30,000.

But dang, it was stressful. I worked a lot yesterday to get some London stuff up, thinking that some new traffic might come my way today (which it has, welcome crossword fans!). I had bigger plans of doing more work on this site to tidy up, dust, and put out the good china for company, but yesterday was just not conducive.

I stayed up until 10:00 p.m., until the puzzle posted on the NYT site, and the did it quickly. Well, tried to do it. My head started hurting like mad. A stress sort of almost-migraine thing! And anxiety kicked in, and the whole puzzle started to look like it was in Greek. I just didn’t get it at all. Now I understand that it was in the wheelhouse of the 20-something male, and that was part of the problem. But the puzzle and I didn’t mesh. Also I thought it was f***ing hard for a Tuesday!! Luckily there’s a reveal feature and I got it all sorted out, but I still didn’t like it. So I decided to go to bed, sleep on it, and get up really early to write up my piece about it.

However, I couldn’t sleep. Duh. So I got up and wrestled with it some more. Slept a bit. Got woken up by Elias. Twice. Ended up being awoken by Ben at 6:00 a.m., finding myself in Elias’s bed and up an hour later than I planned to be. So then I had like 90 minutes to get the job done, start to finish. And that included also getting kids dressed, making lunch, and putting some kind of garments on myself. Still a splitting headache, and lots of self-doubt. Ben transfused me with bulletproof coffee and kept the kids at bay while I slaved away.

I still can’t believe I had the keys to the Kingdom! But I couldn’t get this adorable penguin GIF to load, and I didn’t see all the important stuff about Alec Baldwin and Words With Friends, which would’ve been awesome. Technical issues daunted me. Some of the commands were different than they are on my usual blog. First world problems!

Alec Baldwin Apologizes for playing Words with Friends Too Much

Anyway, I did finally get the post up. I would’ve loved to tinker with it a lot more, but I had to get Elias to camp, Lena to the vet, and Isaac to summer school. The bottom line was I just had to pull the trigger and go.

Then the comments started rolling in. Most people disagreed with me, and I felt sheepish because there were so many more things I meant to talk about, but forgot, or didn’t have time. It’s really tight on the time. I don’t know how Rex does it every day, almost year round. I have new respect for him, and already respected him quite a lot. Still a great experience and I hope to do it again when the opportunity comes along.

See? This is the awesome penguin GIF, but I want it to be a little square where you can see it and all I can get here is code!


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3 Responses to Guest Blogging Moment of Fame

  1. Peter says:


    Actually, I TOTALLY agreed w all of your comments about the puzzle on Rex’s blog. I kept thinking “This is a Tuesday puzzle??” So I went to Rex’s site to read the commentary on the puzzle and found myself nodding along w almost everything you said.
    I’m a M-W kind of guy, occasionally a Thurs, and then Sunday if the stars are aligned properly and I’m in sync w the universe. So I’m not that hardcore, but I do enjoy the take on the puzzles on Rex’s blog almost as much as I enjoy the puzzles themselves.
    I notice that you went to London recently. I spend a fair amount of time in the UK. Now if you would only explain the London Times puzzle to me. I just don’t understand their clues, and I speak English English as well as American English!

  2. Catherine says:

    Hi Peter,
    Thanks so much for your support! I really appreciate it.
    I haven’t tried to London Times Puzzle– I bet I’d have the same problem. We are “separated by a common language.” I too am a M-W kind of puzzler. And even a Monday may take me 10 minutes to complete (i.e., a very long time in CrossWorld).
    Thanks for stopping by– I hope to get another shot over at Rex’s place. But it might be a while. Dude doesn’t go on vacation all that often.

  3. David Bael says:

    I tend to be a week or so behind in solving NYT puzzles, so I just did the puzzle today and read your Rexword write-up. Although I liked the puzzle better than you did, I very much enjoyed your write-up. I appreciate your favoring sincerity over snarkiness.

    I appreciate trying to fit in solving several puzzles a day (and occasionally dabbling into trying to construct one) with raising young children, plus having a job and all the other demands of life.

    I also live in the Powderhorn Park neighborhood of Minneapolis, and I vaguely know your father. I am generally astounded by all the connections of crossword constructors and dedicated solvers with the Twin Cities, and it’s exciting to discover one more.

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