So, I'll be working on Independence Day. Well, technically, I'm already working on Independence Day, but I'll be working again tonight. And yet, this is a good thing; it means that I get to take Saturday off and fold it into my already-planned vacation, lengthening it to ten days, including weekends. I've been talking about my time off obliquely for some time, but it occurs to me
that I haven't really explained what I'm going to be doing.
Well, tomorrow, I work. And then, for the next four days, I'm free around the house. One of those days is looking like it's going to entail a trip to Magic Mountain
and some friends. I can't remember which day he's looking at, but when I know, I'll mention it here. I may try to head down to San Diego, but work conflicts may make that not as edifying an experience as I would hope. And there'll be some cleaning of carriage house. There is a surprising large number of spiders lurking in various places around my home, considering I don't have any other insects around (perhaps I would if there were no spiders?)
. Putting everything back into place will hopefully roust out many.
Then, at 7:45 on Wednesday Morning, I fly to Indianapolis
! Yes, Indianapolis! Home of The Brickyard
! Home of twenty-third president Benjamin Harrison
! Home of . . . of . . . Action Duckpin Bowl
Indianapolis isn't the most cosmopolitan polis, but then, I'm not going for the politics. The draw is the 164th annual convention of the National Puzzlers' League
. The NPL was founded 120 years ago (today!)
and has been holding conventions ever since. (For people who do math, the convention was originally semiannual.)
It's provided for fans of words, wordplay, puzzles and games, and its member directory includes many creators of the same. Many of these people make it a habit to appear at one or more of various puzzle-related events across the country, such as the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament
, where several of the top finishers are NPL members, and the MIT Mystery Hunt
, which I attended this January
on a team with several people I knew from NPL. The best nutshell description of the attraction to this particular event comes from a report
by local NPL member and friend Artistry:
I watch a group play "Killer Charades". Someone steps up. He mimes. "Album title." Got it. "Seven Words." Got it. "Second, fifth, and seventh words." Got it. He falls to the ground. "Falls!" Got it. Someone shouts out, "As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls!" Didn't get it. Total elapsed time: 8.7 seconds.
These are my people. Sure, there are other people that are my people, but those people still give me funny looks when I recite a flat
or when I try to explain an "easy" cryptic-crossword clue
. The people who don't aren't usually numerous enough to get a good group together for come-what-may.
So that's where I'm going on vacation, Puzzletopia, or some such place. Planned activities include: a set of wordplay puzzles based on identifying smells, a grouping of flats
would find satisfactory, a puzzle extravaganza, original variety cryptic crosswords, a hidden contest, and anything else people happen to bring along. There's also going to be a trip to The Brickyard, though I don't know if it will be puzzle-related. I'll be there from Wednesday, July 9 to Monday, July 14. Also, I probably won't be sleeping.
That's my vacation. How about you?