A reader asks: "How do you come up with puzzle ideas?"
I'm often asked this question and, darn it--I've yet to come up with a good answer. I don't know exactly how the ideas come, but it starts with the hunter/gatherer instinct. When it comes to searching for themes, I'm the Collyer Sister--obsessively hoarding words and seed phrases . . . impulsively scribbled on deposit slips, receipts and any writing surface that, of course, can't be readily accessed when needed.
Prior to my constructing days, I was a fast reader. My reading speed has since decelerated from allegro to adagio.
That's because I've turned into a real book worm--inching across the pages at glacial speed. I can't read a paragraph without stopping to highlight an interesting word, or to jot down puzzle theme ideas in the margins.
Then there's the indirect route--inspiration from other art forms. I'm fascinated by greatness of any kind, especially in sports. To that end, I've watched way too much late-night Olympic coverage.
But I've found two new muses! The Canadian ice dancing team of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir; they won the Gold yesterday. Those simultaneous twizzle spins, the lifts, the mirrored skating patterns! I'm enchanted by their exquisite music-driven programs, and by their trust in each other. Every artistic element has been honed, polished and spun into gold.
I don't think there's an ice dancing puzzle brewing in my brain. But Virtue and Moir inspire creativity through a passion for their craft. Good art, no matter what it is, makes me want to work harder in my own little micro world.
Solver's Takeaway: It is an honor to add TESSA Virtue and Scott MOIR to the puzzle family. They're golden, they're young and poised for a long career on ice . . . and the puzzle grid.
The soundtrack for last night's free skate was a shortened version of the Adagietto from Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5. This 2009 performance says it all: These two young artists were destined for Olympic Gold.
Can you watch this without crying? I can't. Well done, Virtue and Moir!