One of those nights
Because of the upcoming holiday, the Times puzzles had to be done tonight. Will sent them around 6 pm, and I went down to the Times to do them. My laptop at home is equipped with the appropriate software, but I don't have a printer (meaning I have to first convert the puzzles to Across Lite and then test), and it's just easier to work down there.
Things started going wrong early. While putting in my contacts, one folded up and got stuck under my eyelid. This happens occasionally, and careful pushing on the lid usually brings it to a corner where it can come out. Only today it popped out right back into the sink. I didn't see it immediately but willed myself to stay calm, closed the lensless eye, and did spot the lens. The drain was closed, no harm done. Just a blip on the frustrating events scale.
At the Times, I discovered I had been using my new ID incorrectly and placing it on the wrong part of the turnstile. Apparently the guards had been taking pity on me and just buzzing me through. Before they made me get the automated ID a few weeks ago, they had been buzzing me through anyway, so I don't know why I had to change IDs.
As I headed to the elevators, a guard said to his colleague, "Do you know who she IS?" This was the guy who made a big fuss after I was on "60 Minutes." Someone else at the Times also recognized me in the elevator after that aired, asking "How are the crosswords coming?" I asked Will if this happened to him (after all, that segment was really about him, and I was only in it for a minute), and he said it didn't!
(Another time, I got into a cab in front of the Times one night. The driver asked, "Are you Gail Collins?" "No," I said. He tried again, "Are you Maureen Dowd?" Yeesh. At least he didn't ask if I was Judy Miller, or any of the many other women in my approximate age range who work there.)
Anyhow, up at Will's desk I settled in to get the puzzles done. The dailies unstuffed and printed out OK. The Sunday puzzle, however, immediately crashed the Mac when I tried to open it. I tried again - 6 more times, in fact - both letting AOL close and automatically unstuff, and manually unstuffing using StuffIt. It appears the problem was with StuffIt, as I tried using it on another file and the machine again froze.
This was very frustrating, since the Sunday deadlines are most urgent. I wasn't sure if morning would be too late. This was the Sunday, 12/4 puzzle, but the Magazine runs that far ahead. Will was about to go out, but sent 2 other versions of the puzzle, both of which also froze the Mac. Since it was night, the computer guys I normally work with were gone, as well as the NYT Digital person. I left phone messages and E-mails for everyone, and cabbed home around 9:45 pm for one last try on my own machine.
I clicked on the file at home on the iBook. It opened! So I was able to finish the testing and make Across Lite files, as usual. I still don't know if they'll be able to open the puzzle at the Times, but they should be OK if they don't use Will's machine. I don't think there's anything wrong with the file itself. It's out of my hands.
I hate when computers don't work the way they're supposed to.