Sunday, October 23, 2011

My "Occupy" Movement

First, I don't mean for this post to in any way trivialize the "Occupy Wall Street" movement or any of the supporting movements that have cropped up across the country - I totally agree with their cause and support their goal of giving voice to the "ninety-nine percent". But just as I didn't join in the protest marches of the '60s (I was not what you would call a "radical" then) I probably won't be taking to the streets any time soon to join the occupiers of Portland or Augusta; I will try to find a way to support them, though, even if it's only to write a strongly worded letter to the editor.

With that said, I have inadvertently started an "Occupy-like" action of my own on Blogger. Like the real world occupiers I am not certain of my message and I have no demands (not yet, anyway) but I know my cause (whatever it may be) is just. I have occupied the blog "Rex Parker Does the New York Times Crossword Puzzle" (RPDTNYTCP). I have long visited this place daily to read the host's write-up of the puzzle and his guests' comments (there are often 100 or more). Usually I leave a comment of my own, but since I am a "syndicated" solver, i.e. I do the puzzle 5 weeks after it was originally published, my comments go largely unread, which is a shame considering how witty and insightful they are (that was the wine talking).

Last month RPDTNYTCP celebrated its fifth birthday (anniversary?) and it occurred to me that it would be fun to go back to the posts from the early days of the blog to see how much had changed. I enjoyed the experience so much that I decided to share it with modern-day Rexites (as I refer to his followers) by posting excerpts in the comments on the current (syndicated) puzzle. And so "RPDTNYTCP on this date five years ago" came into being and has become part of my daily "occupation" of Rex Parker's blog. And the response has been underwhelming.

Now I'm not seeking personal recognition or glory; just as with this blog, whether anyone reads it or not is immaterial as I write for my own amusement. What disappoints me, and I guess what I have decided to "protest" against, is the dearth of comments by other syndicated solvers. RPDTNYTCP has over 1400 followers and Rex has said that over one-half of his readers are from syndication-land so why, I wonder, do only a very few offer their comments on any given day?

It can be said, in fact it has been said many times, that there is very little new to be said about a puzzle that was published weeks earlier and that has been pretty much totally dissected by the "prime-timers" (those who comment when the puzzle originally appears in the NYT or, more likely, on-line). To which I say, "Phooey". Every solver, even those of us out in the hinterland (geographically and chronologically), has a solving experience and a point of view that is unique, and I for one would enjoy reading about more of them. The commentary added by the likes of @NotalwaysrightBill (whatever happened to him, anyway?), @RedValerian, @Spacecraft (and all the other "anonymice"), @WaxyinMontreal (there seems to be a burgeoning Canadian contigent), @Pippin and @Deb@RoomscapesDecor, to name just a few, is every bit as informative and interesting as those from 5 weeks earlier.

So I'm on a mission: to occupy the syndicated space of RPDTNYTCP by appearing daily to comment on the puzzle and to offer a peek into the early days of the blog. My hope is that just as the "prime-time" blog has grown and evolved the syndicated segment can, too. "We're more than one-half, we're more than one-half!" Well, maybe I need to come up with a better chant but you get the idea. If you do the NYT crossword puzzle, even if you only TRY to do it, get over to RPDTNYTCP and leave a comment, dammit!


  1. I read Rex's blog every day but haven't contributed since, as you say, it is 5 weeks too late for us syndicated readers. I have seen some comments at the end that are obviously from syndies but it's difficult to tell where they begin since there is no date but only the time. Perhaps I'll give it a go. Thanks for this blog.

  2. @SurvivorMaam - Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment; I appreciate your interest! I hope one day you'll feel inspired to comment on RPDTNYTCP, too - every comment brings a new perspective to the puzzle, puzzle-solving, or life in general; the more the merrier! (For instance, I recently learned there that how you pronounce "merrier" can be a good indication of where you live - where else can you find out great stuff like that!)