Brown Puzzle Club In The News Again

NYT mugs Brown junior Natan Last and the Brown University Puzzling Association have gotten another mention in the New York Times. Last once interned for New York Times puzzle editor Will Shortz, and the Brown club has become so proficient at construction that the Times recently dedicated six straight days (Brown puzzle week) to their original puzzles. (Writer Cornelia Dean is herself an alum.) These wunderkinder are not only saving time with new computer databases, they are naturally making the cultural references more modern.

For one nine-letter spot, the computer suggests “cablegram.” But as is often the case with accomplished constructors, the students reject it.

“I don’t know what that is,” Mr. Kagan says. Instead, they choose a pop singer in their own age group: Katy Perry. “She’s all the rage, and the letters work perfectly,” Mr. Last says.

Maybe someone should send a cablegram to the mug designer: 29 DOWN . . . Bing Crosby?! He used to be “all the rage” as well (just ask his son).

Set of four mugs, $39.95.

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