Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Aha!  For quite a while, I've wondered how Ross Beresford, the force behind An Englishman Solves American Crosswords, maintains the stamina to blog such a wide variety of puzzles so effectively, and in such detail. Perhaps it's because he is aided and abetted by a powerful solving aid: Linus the cat.

Ross articulates his solving strategies and philosophy in "How I Solve Puzzles." I found his perspective illuminating, very helpful. Linus is a cutie. Thanks, Ross, for allowing me to post this picture.

Is that Linus, as in Linus Pawling?


Crossword Man said...

More like ap-pawling - Linus is asleep most of the day, but turns his attentions on me when it's time to print out and solve the NYT puzzle. If he's not allowed to do the cat massage (aka lomilomi) then he contents himself with covering up as many of the clues as possible. Thanks for the write-up!

Elizabeth said...


Cats have perfected their inbred sense of entitlement to a fine art; crossword solvers are easy prey. Dogs are less subtle. Mickey the Labrador next door, simply eats the puzzle page, sudoku and all.

Crossword Man said...

I suppose that makes Mickey a crucivore :-)

Elizabeth said...

CRUCIVORE . . . I love it!


Magdalen said...

Hi, Elizabeth -- I'm Ross's wife. Ross is a step-catfather; when I divorced my first husband, Henry, we got the cats. They definitely love Ross more than me, as you've already figured out.

But here's the true story of why Linus is named Linus (you were close, by the way). My first husband (aka Brit Hub 1.0) has a silly English double-barreled surname: Blanco White. Yup, White White.

Now, we got married too late to have kids but we used to joke about suitable names to go with Blanco White: Alban, Bianca, Blanche, Faire, Lily, Snowe . . . you get the idea. When Henry and I went to adopt cats, our vet had a pair of litter-mates on offer: a female (previously named Mia) that was grey tabby, orange marmalade & some white, and her brother (whose original name I've forgotten), a tuxedo cat.

Henry and I hadn't decided to adopt them yet, but we were talking about using one of our "white" names. "Well, not for the female," he commented. "She's polychromatic."

So she became Polly and then we had to think of a name that went with Polly. Yup, Linus (for Linus Pauling).

Oh, and Henry can be forgiven for ditching the cats on us: he introduced me to Ross. (We always meant to get him the greeting card we saw in Henley-on-Thames: The front says, "Five years ago my wife ran off with my best friend." Inside: "Gee, I really miss him.")

Cheers -- Magdalen

Elizabeth said...

Magdalen, your wedding story has so many twists and turns and happing endings . . . it reads like one of those wonderful New York Times "Styles" section wedding profiles.

You've proven that step-pets play a key role in the extended family. It's always nice to hear of friendships between ex-spouses. Life is too short for the alternative.

Later this year I plan to visit the shelter and adopt again. Your story reminds me that it's the right thing to do, and so very rewarding.

Magdalen, thanks for the back story on Linus. He's a cutie!!