Thursday, March 02, 2006

Crossword death notice

Here's a curiosity from the death notices in today's NYTimes:

March 2, 2006 Thursday
Late Edition - Final

SECTION: Section B; Column 1; Classified; Pg. 7

LENGTH: 199 words

HEADLINE: Paid Notice: Deaths


JONES -- Alberta Conway Jones. Age 87, passed away on February 27, 2006,
at her Stamford home.

blah blah blah

She loved sports, and was devoted to the opera and the NY Times crossword puzzle.


This rang a bell, so I nexis-ed mentions of the crossword in NYT death notices - 94 mentions since 1997! Most of them specifying New York Times crossword puzzles!

Here are some random comparisons:

Games: 264
Baseball: 179
Racing: 115
Squash: 44
Squash racquets: 14 (good joke if you happen to play)
Cricket: 12
Stamp collecting (or collector): 11
Parachute or parachuting: 9
Badminton: 6
Ephemera: 3
Sodoku: 0


Alana Baranick said...

I think bereaved relatives think we newspaper types want to hear about the deceased's connection to the newspaper.

For example: "She loved reading So-and-so's column in your paper." Or: "His first job was delivering The Plain Dealer." Or: His cousin's brother-in-law works in your circulation department."

Or the one that I get a lot: "She was a close friend of your publisher." The fact is, our publisher has a gazillion friends. If he and the deceased were really close, the publisher most likely would have strongly suggested that we do her obit before the family shows up on our radar.

McKie said...

spot on alana.

they use this a lot when ringing me. "my father took the telegraph for 57 years" or "he always did the telegraph crossword" or " he read the telegraph obuts page first thing every morning".
of course if I want to do them I will shamelessly use the latter two details for fun. but the first one is a bit like saying (in Britain) : He's one of the one in ten newspaper readers who happened to read your paper. So what?

your point about the proprietor (or editor) is also right. people used to say to me " I know (in those days) Charles Moore (then the editor) or (more scarily) "I know Conrad" (not yet in jail). The only response to guff like that is to remember that they mean that they met them once at a stand up and shout cocktail party. If you have an editor who welcomes their view above that of the bloke or girl he's employed to do the job for however long you've been doing it, God bless him.
On the phone I always used to say to people who said that they knew the editor and that he would take a dim view of my piece: "Well, you'd better ring him them and say that. Perhaps he'll sack me and give you my job."
One of these days he will, alas.

lots of love

ps still can't get into my own name. I suspect my being a mac user means they can't resend my password to me, though I keep asking them to. if you know how to fix that, let me know.

McKie said...

as for you steve:
what have you against crosswords? I mean, I know they're not very good in america (tried doing the real, ie our, times one?) but it seems a much more sensible hobby to me than golf or something.

just wait till su doku bites stateside. it will, it will....


Alana Baranick said...


The tech support for this blog is limited - no doubt the result of letting us use this service without paying for it.

To correct your problem, I think the best thing is for you to sign up again and create a new password. This time, put an entry in your computer's "my documents" folder where you can keep your log-on name and password for future reference.

I will instruct the blog folks to send you a new invitation. I'll also send you an email repeating all of this.

Love ya,

steve miller said...

Andrew -

Must you British be better at EVERYThING?!

I'm sort of fond of American crosswords, although I only do the Sunday NYTimes's. The NY Sun has gained some notoriety in puzzling circles for its crosswords, which have been anthologized and published. The author of them has pledged never to use the same clue twice.

I recognize that your Times's crosswords are in some ways superior, but the density and peculiarity of England-only cultural references make them impenetrable to anyone brought up on this side of the Atlantic. The NYPost, schizoid Murdoch product that it is, occasionally runs the Times crosswords. Probably appeals to the same demo as CZ Guest's gardening column.

As for Sodoku, it is everywhere in America now. Even in the NY Sun!

Alana Baranick said...

Is it Sodoku or Sudoku?

steve miller said...

It's more commonly sudoku, according to Google. But even so, there are 0 references to it in death notices.

BTW - it is so boring! I thought this kind of thing was the reason they invented computers, so that we wouldn't have to solve tedious math problems.