Rereading literature isn’t something I do too much, but I go back to a David Foster Wallace story called “Good Old Neon” about every year or so. In short, it’s about the difference between who we are and who people think we are. And it’s also about how language—a blunt and fickle instrument—is in most cases the best shot we have at making ourselves known to others. Will they listen? Will we choose the right words? Will those handful of words give anything remotely like an accurate picture of the shifting infinities of our interior selves?
I don’t know my co-author of today’s puzzle all that well; we’ve communicated semi-regularly over the last year or so. But I recently had the opportunity to spend time with Brooke face to face, and the communication felt effective. Which is to say, it felt like we each did a halfway decent job of representing ourselves. And boy howdy, does effective communication feel good.
Also, we made today’s crossword together. I think it’s a good one! But that work happened before I could say I really knew Brooke at all, and now that I’ve started doing that, I’m very much looking forward to making more puzzles with her. You’ve seen her byline everywhere there are bylines to see, and she regularly shares crosswords of the highest caliber on her own puzzle blog at xwords by a ladee.
Brooke: I’m very grateful that Ross reached to to me with this theme idea! I love themed puzzles where the theme is in the clues. Although… I remember things a bit differently than Ross — when we met on Zoom to discuss possible theme answers, I think it took us like an hour to actually get to our single agenda item. But I’m on board with all the above. One of my favorite quotes is “Die Grenzen meiner Sprache bedeuten die Grenzen meiner Welt,” which roughly means “The limits of my language define the limits of my world.” Hoping to continue to push those limits in communication and in puzzles… and in (further) collaboration, where the two (crucially!) meet.
Happy solving friends!