Ellen (ennienyc) wrote,
Ellen
ennienyc

Boyle, Toil and Trouble

I finally watched the Susan Boyle video this morning - and immediately watched it again. But no time to reflect, I had to wash my hair and get out to work. Although I prefer not to work on my birthday, deadlines don't care when you were born, and the NYT puzzles had to get done.

They're moving Will's desk - again. Since I started doing this work in 1996, his desk has moved too many times to count. As a department of (officially) one who works almost entirely at home, he's easily bumped. I approached the desk with trepidation hoping it would still be intact, since it was getting late and I didn't want to spend time finding the woman who'd know where he was moving, and then the new location itself. I was relieved to see the Golden Tomato award ("Wordplay": 2006 best-reviewed documentary on Rotten Tomatoes, thank you very much) peeping up over the cubicle wall and everything still there. Whew.

After the Sunday puzzle was loaded on the Magazine server precisely at their deadline of 4pm, I called the admin contact, who led me to the new desk. It's a few aisles over from the old one, directly in the main traffic corridor by the courtyard windows, so I should be able to keep the same printer connections. The move should be in 1-2 weeks. I noticed the new desk also has that annoying "ergonomic" keyboard holder, and maybe I'll try again to get it removed.

I have to place the KenKen grids, but starting this week I receive a full template of the page, so won't have to deal with moving the puzzle itself which caused problems recently. The first time we tried working with the whole page a few weeks ago, the Across Lite conversion failed, and it failed again today. In the interim, toonhead_npl suggested a fix but his e-mail was now too old for me to access remotely. Luckily in-house computer guy R had a copy, and I tried the fix (select Crossword banner, hit Ungroup) and it worked. Whew again. But when I placed the KenKens, the fonts came out fuzzy and distorted. Unwhew. This had also happened that first week, and R did something to solve it but by now he was gone and I had no idea what to do, so had to leave it for him to handle tomorrow. We're almost there.

Then while setting up the Java acrostic, the "2 wds." tag from the last definition somehow ended up as an additional clue on its own line. Luckily I checked the HTML page and noticed this. I tried deleting the extra line in the inner workings of the Crostix Setter, got scary error messages, and it wouldn't even let me clear the puzzle out and enter it again without generating more scary error messages. The departed and already sorely missed Nicole was probably the only NYT person who had worked with this program, so I went to the source and called M, who created it in 1996. He was able to talk me through patching up the files in Text Wrangler without having to redo the data entry, and as an added bonus the program seems to work again. Crossing fingers.

There was also the puzzle which had some last-minute grid changes where one clue wasn't changed accordingly, and I wasted time trying to figure out why an answer that wasn't a word was the only thing that fit the clues. And some other minor production issues which mean I won't be recording solving times this week.

Finally out of there at 9pm. Not the most festive birthday. I had considered going to see "The Graduate" (one of my all-time favorite movies) at MoMA, but never was optimistic about getting there by 4:30. I treated myself to some frozen yogurt and diet blondies. Whee.

Back home, a few more Facebook friends posted the Susan Boyle video and I watched it again. And again. And again. As with my ACPT win, "I was just SOBBING." With happiness. What is it about this that touches such a nerve? I think I see some of myself - a middle-aged, non-glamor girl getting belated public recognition. But there's also the joy at watching the expression on the judges' faces (Simon's eyebrows shoot up, and he grows to look absolutely in love), the audience cynicism turn to enthusiasm, and the beauty and purity of the performance itself.
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