That's the concluding paragraph of a piece I posted here over two years ago (My "Occupy" Movement, 10/20/2011 http://dirigonzo.blogspot.com/2011/10/my-occupy-movement.html) and it seemed like this would be a good time to revisit the topic for an update on the status of events and happenings surrounding the syndicated segment of Rex Parker Does the NY Times Crossword Puzzle. And I'm happy to report there have been some very positive changes over the last couple of years.
I've maintained my pledge to show up every day (with very few exceptions) and add my comments to the blog, if only to be a constant (and sometimes lonely) presence just to establish that the comment line is still open five weeks later, and maybe encourage other potential contributors to join in. Whether this has been helpful to the cause or detrimental is hard to say, but over time some commenters who had contributed occasionally began to show up with more frequency, and some new names emerged as "regulars" who came to join the party frequently, if not daily. And so a small but burgeoning, active community has arisen where once there was only a ghost town.
A community, even a virtual one, needs a name and we have tried out several over time. My own favorite was "Syn-City" and I still use it on occasion, but the most regularly used moniker for our little chunk of cyber-space is "Syndi-Land" and its denizens are "Syndi-Landers" or just "Syndies". Recently I've noticed both terms being used with a certain amount of pride attached as the community has developed a character which is quite different from that of the main body of Rexites ("kinder, gentler" is a phrase that comes up quite often) and I think most regard the difference as a good thing.
If Rexville is a hustling, bustling metropolis populated by a cosmopolitan assemblage of erudite contributors all rushing to be to be among first to the finish the puzzle and the earliest to comment, then Syndi-Land is the laid-back exurb where those of us who wish to avoid the stress of the "rat race" can join together and share our more relaxed approach to life in general and puzzle solving in particular. In many respects our little group resembles a retirement community where folks can discuss, critique (but seldom "criticize"), share and compare experiences, views and ideas on any number of topics sometimes even including the puzzle. The one thing we all have in common is that we solve (or try to - a "Did Not Finish" is not considered a failure among our group) the puzzle and come together to discuss it in our own time and at our own pace. The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that reading Rex's write-up and the comments, and participating in the blog community improves our puzzle-solving skills and makes the experience more fun.
The defining characteristic of a Syndie is that each of us solves the puzzle in our local newspaper, using a pen or pencil (or crayon or whatever) to fill in the actual grid published in the paper - we do NOT solve on-line as do most of the other Rexites. Any one of us could subscribe to the NY Times crossword puzzle on line and solve the puzzle on the day it comes out instead of five weeks later; I think that we choose not to do that is the defining characteristic of a Syndi-Lander. Our reasons may vary but the bottom line is the same: we are content where we are.
I'm hopeful that other syndi-lurkers will see the commentary going on among the Syndies and feel compelled to join us. There may even be a "prime-timer" or two who are ready to quit the hectic competition among the early contributors, and they would most certainly be welcomed into our little enclave. "Slow and steady" seems to be a good motto for Syndi-Land - it's how we solve our puzzles and it's how we grow our community.
As I said at the outset, I take no credit for what's happening in Syndi-Land, but I am very proud and glad to be a part of it.
If I can wait five weeks for a puzzle, certainly "Mañana is good enough for me". Here's what you get when you type it as it might appear in a crossword grid:
With the tilde (a word I learned from doing crosswords) in place, you might get this:
P.S. - A former syndi-lander turned prime-timer commented a while back that she sometimes yearned to rejoin the "bird-watching, star-gazing, cold-enduring" folks in syndi-land. I can't think of a better way to describe our little community!