Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Is a Puzzlement

Yesterday, this blog received the most pageloads of any day in its illustrious history. Never has Restricted View been accessed so many times in one 24-hour period, not even at the height of the great Colapinto Explosion of June 2007. (Can you believe it's been a year? Yet I will never tire of the traffic that post brings me.) This means, of course, that I should consider switching to an all-crossword-puzzle-answers, all-the-time format, since that, and not obsessive, unsolicited arts criticism, nor complaints about my struggles with the Postal Service, is what the public wants. The statistics speak for themselves.

I don't make a habit of checking my stats the moment I get up in the morning, I swear, but I happened to do so yesterday, and I was amused to see a handful of people scattered across the country ending up here via the same weird keyword search. I love to ponder what makes people search for the things that bring them to me, and how disappointed they must be when they get here -- see this old post for more on that phenomenon -- and so when I figured out what was probably inspiring this mass-Googling, I posted to that effect and forgot all about it until after lunch, when I checked in with StatCounter again and was astonished by my high visitor count. Perusing the visitor history was a strangely heartwarming, it's-a-small-world-after-all moment. I had hits from Akron, NY; Barrow, AK; Charleston, IL (motto: "The other Charleston!"); Martinez, GA; Beaver Dam, WI; Blunt, SD; Flower Mound, TX; Liberty, MS; Longmont, CO; Shakopee, MN; Tonganoxie, KS; Winston-Salem, NC; Ontario; British Columbia; and Trinidad and Tobago. All of you working on the same puzzle, which I found here, thanks to a comment from Stephanie of Ottawa. (By the way, 62 across is "Albee.")

Companies whose employees visited (or whose neighbors used available wireless to visit) include Bond, Schoneck & King in Syracuse; Ernst & Young LLP in Secaucus; Freemon Shapard & Story in Wichita Falls, TX; and Jones Day Reavis & Pogue, Richmond Breslin LLP, and Goldberg Weisman Cairo Ltd. in Chicago. Not to mention Sears Canada, Inc. and Jewish Vocational Services, both in North York, Ontario. Also WishTV-210 in Indianapolis, and something called "Iron Horse Safety Special" in Plano, TX.

Institutions of learning that sent visitors my way include NYC Public Schools, Brooklyn; Joan And Sanford I. Weill Medical College And Graduate School Of Medical Sciences Of Cornell University, Brooklyn; Grasso Votech, Groton, CT; Waterford Public Schools, Waterford, CT; University Of Missouri - Kansas City; Medical College of Georgia; University of Chicago; and Georgetown Technical in Georgetown, SC.

And official-sounding outfits whose employees are not above the occasional crossword include the Dept. of Veterans' Affairs in Los Angeles, CA; the U.S. Army Medical Information Technology Center in San Antonio, TX; the Board of Police Commissioners in Plano, TX; the County of Westchester in White Plains, NY; and the City of New York (nyc.gov) in... San Antonio, TX? Whatever, StatCounter.

Anyway, those of you who actually like my theatre-related ramblings and/or diary of Martha Plimpton sightings don't have to worry; I'm not really going to start blogging about crossword puzzle clues, exclusively or at all. But I may start embedding likely hints in my posts just to drive up traffic, in the hopes that some of you puzzle fans will like what you find here and keep coming back. I promise it won't become intrusive (flightless bird; thirteenth president; Wizard of Oz remake The___). Meanwhile, I am wondering: Have I exposed the dark underbelly of the world of North American syndicated-crossword-puzzle-solving? Do you puzzledoers consider it cheating to Google tricky clues? Or is that part of the process? After all, Google isn't always a silver bullet; you still have to hunt for the information you need. (Especially now that they've decided to automatically "correct" your spelling for you, instead of just asking whether you want them to... I hate that, Google. I hate it so much.) What do you think: Is a crossword puzzle an open-book exam?

P.S. The Republic author; "Thanks," to a Parisian; Not "hither," but ___.

1 comment:

Levi Stahl said...

Two things:

1. Googling for crossword answers is definitely cheating.

2. I had a similar (though not as large) traffic bump a while back on my blog generated by people searching on variations of "Bartleby the Scrivener desk accessory." I finally gave up and wrote a post asking people what on earth they were looking for, and it turned out to be a crossword clue. Alas, poor Bartleby.