March 20, 2007

Let's do it like they do on the Discovery Channel

If you weren't around for the filming of the last documentary that shot footage at the Stamford crossword puzzle tournament (as I wasn't), you may be pleased to know that there will be a Discovery Channel documentary filming there this year: The Joy of Lex. It's about words -- how they're coined, how faddish words come and go, how corporations name new products, etc. One of the segments features my homegirl Erin McKean and her quest to popularize new coinages and save cool old words from the lexicographical dustheap.

I've been asked to write a crossword featuring a number of these words, and I'll be presenting it as an unofficial event at the tournament on Saturday night, in the downstairs mini-ballroom at 7:15. (In practice, we'll probably start a little later than that, because that's how these things go, but that's when I'm aiming for.) Prizes will be awarded to the fastest correct solution, and to one solver (chosen at random) who finishes correctly during the time limit. Copies of the puzzle will be available after the event for those who can't make it or who'd rather that Discovery Channel viewers not know that they're nerdy enough to attend a crossword competition, and I'll also post the puzzle here after the tournament. Thanks to Will Shortz for finding us a space and time to squeeze this in.

Posted by Francis at 11:52 AM

"The Joy of Lex"? Are they aware that that's the name of a 1980 Gyles Brandreth best-seller about wordplay? (I'd bet it's easily the most popular book ever published on the subject.)

Posted by: Trip at March 20, 2007 12:46 PM

I believe Erin has made them aware of this. Don't know if the title is set in stone.

Posted by: Francis at March 20, 2007 12:52 PM

Please tell me that "igry" will be appearing in the puzzle.

Also, I don't suppose that you'll be making the puzzle available in PDF form in addition to Across Lite format? The only good Mac crossword program, sadly, is incompatible with the Intel-based Macs, at least for now.

Posted by: Debby at March 20, 2007 03:48 PM

Vis-a-vis "igry," I could not say, as that would be giving those who read my website an unfair advantage, deserving though they undoubtedly are of such treatment, being people of taste and judgment in their online reading selections.

The puzzle will indeed be available in .pdf when I post it, which is easy to do in this case since I'm laying out the hard copy of the puzzle in Quark.

Posted by: Francis at March 20, 2007 04:09 PM

As it turns out, the day after I posted my request for a PDF, I got email from the new owner of MacXWord, who has updated it to work on Intel Macs and renamed the program Black Ink. Free 30-day trial here, for any Mac users who might be interested.

Posted by: Debby at March 21, 2007 12:47 PM

Hello. I realize this is an old entry on this blog, but I thought a comment was worth a try. I saw 'the joy of lex' a few weeks ago on the discover channel. I am searching all over trying to find a dvd of it. Since your comment indicates that you know a girl in the movie, I was wondering if you would be willing to help me in my search.

Even if you don't know anything about a dvd availability, if you have anything to help point me in the right direction, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Thank you!

Posted by: Edwin Lee at May 24, 2008 01:29 PM

I haven't seen a DVD yet, though I think I'll get a screener copy eventually, if I nag the right people. But as far as I know there isn't one available for general purchase.

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