» Subscribe Today!
The Power of Information
Home
The Ledger - EST. 1978 - Nashville Edition
X
Skip Navigation LinksHome > Article
VOL. 38 | NO. 40 | Friday, October 3, 2014

Brown down but Davidson group ready to step in

Print | Front Page | Email this story

DAVIDSON, N.C. – A few years ago, Brown University had the largest puzzle-related student activities organization in the country. Its Puzzling Association, with more than 30 members, met weekly to solve, discuss and construct.

New York Times puzzle editor Will Shortz declared a “Brown Week” in the autumn of 2010, publishing a crossword by a different student for six consecutive days. Natan Last, Class of 2012, had 14 Times puzzles published before he graduated.

The current academic year has begun with the Brown Puzzling Association, founded in 2008, listed as “inactive.” That’s not unusual, according to William Brown, director of student activities at Davidson College for the past 31 years. Student organizations come and go, ebb and flow, flourish and fall back. It’s the nature of the beast.

William and I overlapped a year at Davidson. I matriculated in 1969. He graduated in 1970. We met again by email in late summer of 2014 when I pitched the idea of a puzzle club and offered to help.

I was going to be in the area for a few days, and I told him, “so by all means put me to work.”

William organized a meeting, inviting students with an interest.

The thought occurred to me: What do I do now?

I emailed members of the Brown group from 2009-2012, including one I mentored. I called Brown and learned that its puzzle club is no longer. I researched the sites of other schools that had groups similar to Brown’s: Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Texas Christian University.

Harvard’s class of 2009 had a prolific crossword constructor in Kyle Mahowald, who had 14 Times puzzles published between 2004 and 2008. He initiated an annual competition on campus that became known as the Boston Crossword Puzzle Tournament.

My research showed this tournament was discontinued a couple of years after Kyle graduated, and that Harvard’s puzzle club is no longer.

The Princeton University Zealously Zany Logical Enigma Solvers (PUZZLES), which seems to have been organized in 2012, doesn’t seem to be focused on crosswords. Nonetheless, I dropped a note to the person who’s shown as a contact. Still waiting to hear from him.

I did likewise with a group called the Gamers’ Guild at TCU. I heard back quickly from Matthew English at TCU, who told me their motto is, “If it’s a game, we play it!,” but, frankly, they’ve had no one recently who’s shown an interest in puzzles.

And so ... I was winging it with the handful of students who showed for the meeting at Davidson’s Alvarez Student Union. They are outstanding, something I’ve come to expect over the years in any situation involving Davidson students.

I made a brief presentation, offered to assist and fielded questions. I received an email a few hours later stating the students would meet again later in the week, along with others who’d expressed an interest but hadn’t been able to attend the first meeting. As a group, they would make a decision.

On Friday, I learned four students plan to meet weekly over dinner and do puzzle-club things. Their modest goal is to make a crossword puzzle.

Oh, by the way, since I said I’d help ...

Vic Fleming is a district court judge in Little Rock, Ark., where he also teaches at the William H. Bowen School of Law.Contact him at vicfleming@att.net.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter & RSS:
Sign-Up For Our FREE email edition
Get the news first with our free weekly email
Name
Email  
TNLedger.com Knoxville Editon
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 0 0
MORTGAGES 0 0 0
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 0
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 0
BANKRUPTCIES 0 0 0
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 0 0
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0