8/26/08

SPECIAL REPORT -- The Ron Rosenbaum Limerick Competition Results Are In!

Welcome to this MGWCC SPECIAL REPORT -- the results of the Ron Rosenbaum Limerick Competition are in!

To recap: lacking anything better to do, a writer named Ron Rosenbaum decided to publish an unintentionally hilarious three-page screed against people who enjoy solving crossword puzzles last week in Slate. You can read the piece here, or just look over these highlights:

Need I suggest that those who spend time doing crossword puzzles...—uselessly filling empty boxes (a metaphor for some emptiness in their lives?)—could be doing something else that involves words and letters? It's called reading.

But somehow crossword types think that their addiction to this sad form of mental self-abuse somehow makes them "literary." Sorry: Doing puzzles reflects not an elevated literary sensibility but a degraded letter-ary sensibility, one that demonstrates an inability to find pleasure in reading. Otherwise, why choose the wan, sterile satisfactions of crosswords over the far more robust full-blooded pleasures of books?

What are some of the other defenses of the puzzle people? "It trains the mind." No, sorry; it only trains the mind to think in a tragically limited and reductive fill-in-the boxes way. I'd say that instead it drains the mind. Drains it of creativity and imagination while fostering rat-in-a-maze skills.

Isn't it a tragedy, then, a criminal shame, that all their amazing brainpower gets wasted on word games? If they're as smart as they think they are and there were some way to channel their alleged brainpower to something other than word games, we could cure cancer in a month!

And those selections of Ron's stellar prose are all chosen from merely the first page of the piece. It gets better from there, especially when he starts making fun of people in his local Starbucks, located near a hospital, who have recently lost or are in fear of losing a loved one. Ron labels this establishment, where he spies on crossword solvers, the "Starbucks of Tears."



In short: Ron needs a good, hard, verbal punch to the kidneys, so last week I gave it to him on this site. Last week's puzzle (solution at left) was all about Mr. Rosenbaum (in fact, his name was the answer to 22-across). 1-across, for example, was KEA, which was clued as {Mauna ___}, in tribute to Ron's dazzlingly uninformed mockery of a man in the "Starbucks of Tears" who hadn't yet filled in the answer to a three-letter entry thus clued ("this guy's brow was furrowed with concern over such challenging clues as '18 Across: Mauna _ _ _.' Whew, tough one, dude."). Ron assumed the answer had to be LOA and mocked the man for supposedly not knowing it, yet it was Ron who didn't realize that that clue famously has two well-known answers.

Asshat and dipshit; quite a combination!

Other entries in the grid laid out this week's MGWCC: write a limerick mocking Ron Rosenbaum and his easily-mocked article. I received 31 limericks, and they're hilarious. Yo, Ron: if you were going to pick a battle of words with a group of people, crossword folk was not your best option.

And now, the winners! There were so many nice shots here that I decided to, in honor of the recently-ended Olympic Games, choose gold, silver, and bronze medalists rather than limiting it to one winner. Each of the medalists will receive a roll of toilet paper on the first sheet of which I have forged Ron Rosenbaum's signature (I am really doing this). The gold medalist will also receive the usual MGWCC prize (autographed copy of any book I've written -- try not to get these two prizes confused).

Our Bronze Medalist is Hugh Murphy of Wilmington, Del., who wrote:

There once was an Eli Phi Bete
Whose mind was so splendidly great
Ron could sure find the answer
For conquering all cancer
So how come he's scribbling for Slate?


The Silver Medal goes to Patrick Jordan of Ponca City, Okla., whose limerick inspired this week's prize:

Our pastime Ron thought he was harmin',
Yet his ignorance is truly alarmin'.
His article's sloppy,
But I'm keeping a copy
To use when I run out of Charmin.


And the Gold Medal, for daring to delve into the dark realm of human psychology, goes to Tyler Hinman of San Francisco, Calif.:

Puzzling women and men will
Despise what comes out of Ron's pen. Still,
What he tries to sell us
Tells me that he's jealous
And sore re the length of his pencil.


These results should not affect the medal count from Beijing, but I'm betting we won't see many more anti-cruciverb articles from Mr. Rosenbaum anytime soon.

Next puzzle goes up Friday afternoon as usual. Have fun and be careful out there, fellow cruciverbalists!