Thursday, February 06, 2014

Well, this is just embarrassing...

When I said that I would post about February, I meant February 2012...not 2014.

But here it is, TWENTY-FOURTEEN. And the only reason I'm here is to paste some embedded code here to test it. (Can you tell it must be time for the annual TCEA conference? ;-)

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Busy, busy bee.

A friend recently emailed to check on me, noting no new blog posts since January first. Oh, brother. I assured him that everything was's just that Philip and I are too busy *living* life to stop and breathe and write about it. Oh, and having limited Internet access at school (social media are blocked) and NO Internet at the farm doesn't make it any easier. (Plus, having a husband who gets tired of seeing my nose in a book or in front of a computer makes it even a little MORE challenging!) ;-)

And the PACE of

*Last fall, we put a new roof on the City Mouse House, and I went three days without seeing it! Left in the dark and came home in the dark until one Friday, when I pulled into the driveway and admired the new "chocolate" roof for about two minutes--before running inside to change clothes for my 5-10 p.m. mall job and pack a suitcase for the farm. (Thank goodness I gave up the mall job after Christmas!)

*Two Sundays ago, we thought we were going to have a nice long "lie-in" for the first time in ages because we had nothing pressing to do and our church doesn't start until the afternoon. Wrong! I got to see Philip deliver a calf down at Denton Valley instead!

*Two conferences...the American Library Association Midwinter Conference in Dallas in January and the Texas Computer Education Association convention in Austin in February were SO fun and SO wonderful and so educational. And Philip got to come for a little of both! Plus, I got to hang out with Falisha in January (she came and picked me up in Dallas for shopping & bowling after the EBSCO luncheon), and Philip and I got to see Troy, Angela, & Bethany in Austin. So much fun and great food.

*Oh, and speaking of great food...Philip and I just had doctors' visits and were told the toll that all of this happiness has taken on us. I've put on TEN pounds since our July wedding, and Philip's only put on FOUR. (Kristy's going on a diet!) ;-)

*Partes, practical jokes, church potlucks, Book Club, Bunco night, Meal Team, friends in the hospital, two sinus infections, checking on calves, watching Philip and his brother and son work cattle (and helping a little bit), feeding chickens, reading, movies, NetFlix, is a blur. A WONDERFUL blur of activity!

Oh, and since I'm up sitting in the recliner, unable to sleep due to this awful sinus infection, I may as well post a few photos of the January activity I failed to blog...

Bethany & Catrin's Festivus in Fentress!

 January Bunco!

Rock haulin'!

Sisterhood of the Traveling Mom Jeans reunion!

ALA Conference in Dallas

Farm chores and fun!

On deck for the next blog? FEBRUARY.

Just a month late. ;-)

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone! It was with a touch of sadness that I typed up this morning's Sunday puzzle segment...the first of 2012, but the last for me (at least until we have Internet out on the farm!).

So, without further is the NPR puzzle synopsis I wistfully sent out this morning:

Synopsis of NPR Weekend Edition puzzle

Audie Cornish & Will Shortz




The Current Challenge (issued 2011-12-04, from listener Mike Reiss):

Name an occupation in nine letters. It's an entertainer of sorts — an unusual and uncommon but well-known sort of entertainer. Drop the third letter of the name, and read the result backward. You'll get two four-letter words that are exact opposites. What are they?


The answer : Drop the third letter from "daredevil," and read the result backward to get "live" and "dead."




Audie reported more than 300 entries, and the randomly-selected winner was Mitch Handelsman from Denver. Audie reported that Mitch joined them using his smart phone app so "we have a nice, clear line." Mitch is a psychology professor at the University of Colorado Denver and a member listener of KCFR.



TODAY'S ON-AIR PUZZLE: Will introduced Audie to an annual puzzle segment tradition--his annual "year-end news quiz," also known as the "Fame Game." Will provided Mitch and Audie some famous names from the headlines in 2011, and they were supposed to come up with the stories associated with the names given. Following tradition, today's puzzle was prepared with two past year-end news quiz contestants, Kathy Baker and Tim Goodman.



CLUES (hints below clues; answers at the end of this synopsis):


1. Kim Jong Un




2. Gilad Shalit





3. Mohamed Bouazizi





4. Harold Camping





5. Kris Humphries





6.  Watson




7. Siri








 2. Audie: "This is fairly recent news, Mitch...and it's from overseas."

Mitch: "I'm thinkin' it might have something to do with the Arab Spring?"

Audie: "You are at least within the region now."

Will: "Hold that thought for later!"



4. He "did something twice this year that proved to be very embarrassing." He's also a Christian radio broadcaster.



7. Will, to Mitch: "You, of all people, should get this--considering what you're playing on today!"




* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *


Next Week's Challenge as it appeared on the web site:

Name certain scores in a certain sport. This is a two-word phrase with a total of 10 letters (5 letters in each word). If you have the right phrase, you can rearrange all the letters to name a different sport, also in two words (6 letters in the first word, 4 in the second). What are the scores, and what is the sport?




Answers must be received by 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time on THURSDAY.

One entry per person. (NPR will no longer receive entries by email.)

Be sure to include a telephone number where you can be reached at about that time if you are selected as the winner.



Entries may be made at the web page:

You might also get to this page by going to:



* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *


Guest editor's notes from Kristy:


Well, it's with a touch of sadness that I type up this puzzle transcription. Now that I live on a farm with no Internet, sending out the puzzle has become a little more difficult so I'm taking a (temporary?) break. Thanks to Richard for letting me sub and then co-edit such a fun and unique synopsis for such a fun and unique group of people!


Audie is ALSO taking a temporary break from the puzzle--and the Weekend Edition Sunday hosting gig altogether--while she moves to fill in for Michele Norris at All Things Considered. (Rachel Martin will take over in Audie's absence.)



Another coincidence? My tape recorder gave up the ghost this morning after several years of faithful service. (Jerry, the Internet wizard, came to the rescue and emailed me the mp3!)


If we ever get Internet out here in the sticks, I hope y'all will let me pitch in once again. :-)



A future mailbag correspondent,

Kristy Fower Compton, happily married to the handsomest farmer in all of Texas' 254 counties



* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *


Editor's notes:


Puzzles, and contents of Weekend Edition/Sunday puzzle segment are copyrighted 2011, by Will Shortz and NPR. Reprinted here with permission.


Our regular monthly puzzle transcription schedule is undergoing a little tweaking, now that I'm out of the rotation, but for the rest of January, 2012, the old one will still work:

2nd      Richard

3rd       Joe

4th       Jerry

5th       Richard



Their email addresses:

Richard Renner (rrenner

Joe Wander (jdwandersr

Jerry Miller (millergm



Send puzzle-related email to Richard this week (rrenner



NOTE: We editors are always eager to receive email comments (even when you're pointing out one of our slips), and we will generally add them to the Mailbox section of the next week's synopsis. Please let us know  in the first line of your message if you would like your comment included or withheld from the synopsis. (Also, if you DO want your comment included, let us know if it's okay to share your name and email address! If no constraints are mentioned, we will assume it is okay to publish as it arrived--with comment, name, and email address intact.)



* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *



To: mad4cowbell

Hi, Kristi.

        The solution for the 12/18/11 puzzle was GERIATRIC (JERRY + AT + RICK). I also submitted an alternative solution to that puzzle - BARIATRIC (BARRY + AT + RICK), which means "related to obesity," as in BARIATRIC SURGERY. Like the GERIATRIC population, the BARIATRIC population is a "growing part of our country" (in more ways than one).



Phil Goodman

Binghamton, NY

You said it, Phil. There are times that I walk through the high school hallways where I work and am astounded that the middle-aged librarian is often thinner than the fifteen to eighteen year-olds around me!





And for the sweetest email I may have received all year:



Richard Renner rrenner

Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 4:31 PM


It has been a delight to correspond with you over the years about the NPR puzzle, public education and libraries, and life in general.  The NPR puzzle synopses have not had such a major change since you all agreed to share editting after my 2008 move to Washington. Kristy, you will be missed, but also respected for your years of service to our endeavor here and for your unique perspectives.

As a farewell homage to you, I thought I would collect some of your emails to the NPR puzzle. Here is your first email to the NPR puzzle synopsis:


From:               "mike b ***"


Subject:            Ignore first one--Alternate Answer to Mary Jane's


Date sent:          Mon, 18 Jan 1999 00:33:59 -0800

Dear Mr. Renner,

Please tell me that other people also initially thought

the answer to #5 was "head."    (Knothead, pothead)

Not that I personally

know any of either category...

Keep up the good work, Kristy Fowler C****


P.S.  I didn't realize until I sent the first email that the player this

week was named Mary Jane...



Your next email contains a huge foreshadow of things to come:

From:               "The ***s"


Subject:            Sign me up!

Date sent:          Sat, 27 Mar 1999 07:14:57 -0800

Please, oh please, add me to your list!  (My husband switched ISPs without

notifying everyone, and I've been missing you.)

Kristy at mk***

Thanks!  You're hilarious.

Here was my response:

There's a good warning for all us husbands.

 Here is what you wrote in 2001 about the subs that filled in during my first trip to Guatemala:

Date sent:               Sun, 15 Apr 2001 21:29:59 -0500

From:                    Mike & Kristy ***

Subject:                 Last week's on-air puzzle

To:                      rrenner

Dear Richard,

Hope Guatemala was fun, and that your Spanish is better, too.

Your puzzle subs did a great job, and we're all very thankful!

About the on-air "four by four by four" puzzle, was I the only

one who thought of "long neck" for #8? (Sorry, Mom!)

Kristy in Texas

Jerry wrote in that week, too:

Date sent:           Mon, 16 Apr 2001 21:19:34 -0400

To:                  rrenner

From:                Jerry Miller

Subject:             Re: NPR puzzle synopsis for 2001-04-08


Re: your trip...I had a feeling you would have a bipolar

reaction. I

experienced the same feelings on a not-so-recent trip to the


Republic. And, given the events of this weekend in Africa, my

memories of

abject poverty were rekindled.

BTW, when you say "clients' families," to what are you referring?

Stay well...snow showers are forecast for this part of the state.






You have been persistently upbeat and encouraging.  Take this example:

From:Mike & Kristy ***


Subject:Proffering my humblest salutations and sincerest


Date sent: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 09:28:16 -0500

Dear Richard,

Wow! Great job with the bureaucratic lingo! As Will was speaking

(those ridiculously-syllabled) proverbs, I was worried about how

you were going to send out today's puzzle! :-)

Nicely done...once again.

Doffing my cap,

Kristy Fowler C**** in Texas

Here was

my response:

Thanks, Kristy.  I was impressed with the vocabulary stretch in

the on-air puzzle.  Actually, though, there was only one word my

spell-checker choked on, lachrymose.  Luckily, I had a


On 2002-06-02, I thanked you for subbing the previous week, but my archive is missing the 2002-05-29 synopsis.  Sorry.  I wonder if that was your first. Here is what we wrote the following week about it, though:

you are wondering, if Kristy Fowler C**** did such a good

job, why isn't she subbing.  Well, here's why:

From:          Mike & Kristy C****

To:            rrenner

Subject:       Re: I need a sub again for NPR puzzle synopsis


Date sent:     Sun, 02 Jun 2002 12:37:33 -0500

Dear Richard,

Filling in was really fun! Although I'll be cruising across the


(in my minivan) on June 16th and can't fill in that Sunday, call

on me any

time you need a sub. I'll be back from the Land of the

Technologically-Challenged Relatives near the end of July.

Thanks again for all you do. I love getting your summaries, and

like Joe,

I think if you take the time to write it, it's your baby. Do it

the way

you want!

BTW, as a puzzle enthusiast, you might enjoy . Every morning a new word is

delivered to

my email Inbox, along with international comments from

subscribers, cool

quotes, and much more. I think you'd like it!

Thanks again,

Kristy, your friend in Texas

Remember recomending this web page?

After that, your name was in every synopsis (so I can't fish out your emails so easily).

Thanks for the memories, Kristy.  Please remember that you make a pretty good correspondent even when you are not editing.


Richard Renner

Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, LLP

3233 P St., NW

Washington, DC  20007

(202) 342-6980, Ext. 112

(202) 342-6984 FAX

On 30 Dec 2011 at 14:49, Kristy Fowler wrote:


> Hey, fellas,


> You know how this Sunday will be my last as one of the co-synopsizers?

> (Is that even a word?)


> It's just too hard to tape the puzzle segment in the country and drive

> to the city to transcribe and send it. It takes so long that y'all

> aren't getting the synopsis for HOURS...not to mention that my sweet

> farmer (who has never sent an email in his life and thinks the

> Internet is a colossal waste of time) just scratches his head at my

> synopsis obsession!


> So have y'all given any thought about how you will divvy up the month?

> How would y'all like me to list the order of transcribers...or should

> I just suggest Mailbag email be sent to Richard like I usually do and

> let y'all figure it out later?


> DELIGHTED to have been counted in your number...and call on me any

> time you need a sub!


> Love,

> Kristy




SEE WHAT I MEAN? Thanks, Richard, for your sweet summary of my puzzle synopsis years.


Send puzzle-related email to Richard this week (rrenner



* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *


Our group of volunteer co-editors distributes these free weekly synopses of the NPR puzzle segment.  You can read more about this free distribution at:

You can subscribe from this page, too.


To unsubscribe from this group, send email to:


For more options, visit this group at:


If you want to remove your address from the former Topica list, send a blank email from your account to:


To change the email address of your subscription, remove the old one (from the old email account), and add the new Google subscription (from the new email account).  For more information about this list, and an archive of those distributed by, visit:

or, for more information about the Topica mailing service, visit:


NPR posts the weekly challenge (and the previous answer) on its World Wide Web page.  Go to, and "select" Weekend Edition Sunday from the drop-down combo box to the right of the big npr in the top left corner.  You can also pick up a recording of Weekend Edition Sunday program in the Real Audio format, after 1:00 p.m. Eastern time each Sunday.  In the alternative, for the text of the weekly listener challenge and a photo of Will, you can go directly to:

Podcasts are available at:




How do I subscribe to this podcast?

Copy the URL [above this paragraph] into your preferred podcasting tool software (e.g. Odeo, iTunes, iPodder).

You will automatically receive this podcast each time it's published.


Follow Audie on Twitter:


Links of interest:

Merl Reagle’s article on constructing crossword puzzles, available at:

World Puzzle Federation:

More of Ed Pegg Jr.'s puzzles are available at:

Joe Wander recommends:

Kristy Compton suggests puzzle enthusiasts check out Mental Floss magazine:

You can join Kathie Schneider's email list for accessible word and logic puzzles. To subscribe, send a blank email to:

For Team USA of the World Puzzle Federation:

The National Puzzlers' League:



* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *





1.  Kim Jong Un: North Korea's new "Supreme Leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces" following the death of his father Kim Jong Il





2. Gilad Shalit: the Israeli soldier who was released after five years of captivity by Hamas, traded for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners





3. Mohamed Bouazizi: the Tunisian fruit vendor whose self-immolation "inspired uprisings that toppled dictators across the Arab world" and named Person of the Year last week by Britain's The Times newspaper, according to:





4. Harold Camping: the 90 year-old evangelist who claimed to have cracked a Biblical code predicting the end of the world in May, 2011...and then again in October, 2011.





5. Kris Humphries: the New Jersey Nets basketball forward who was married to celebrity Kim Kardashian for less than three months in 2011





6.  Watson: the "super computer" who beat the human champions on Jeopardy!





7. Siri: the intelligence software system ("digital personal assistant") on the Apple iPhone




End of NPR Puzzle Synopsis. 

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Merry New Year. Here's hoping for more free time to blog in 2012. :-)