While many people know me for my celebrity writing And other folks know me for my radio work. There is another aspect that you might be surprised to learn as I have a syndicated newspaper column too. It’s not the typical column that you see highlighting entertainment, but something entirely different: it’s a puzzle.
For over ten years (way, way longer actually) I have had a column that is a word search puzzle called Brain Baffler that appears weekly in magazines, newspapers and other paper publications. It has been a real source of joy too. And this week it is getting a year older. While I try not to belabor anniversaries and birthdays, this year there is a very special aspect of the puzzle not only has it survived the continuous cuts of the newspaper business, it has blossomed into something quite spectacular that I can’t hardly believe. Add that there has been a couple volumes of the books published and it is something that delights me.
The first Brain Bafflers were done by hand and typed on a typewriter – yes, the machines where you hear the keys move and the ribbon strikes the paper. Today, I still put the puzzles together by hand, but I type them into my laptop and then have a proofreader make sure there are no errors. Many people who make puzzles have adapted to artificial intelligence by having a computer program create the puzzles, but it just isn’t the same. Word searches become predictable by using computers and fresh when a human actually takes the time to put them together.
So a big happy birthday to the Brain Baffler! May this wonderful puzzle be around many more years as I adore putting them together every week. And I hope that I can adapt these to put the puzzles online at some point so people can download and play for free too.