Look at the word; let your eyes linger on its stabbing ‘i’ dots and on the sassy, razzing tongue of the ‘y.’ Consider the big, judgemental block of the ‘M’ and let the jeers of the ‘ee’ sounds roll around inside your heads.
Come to terms with the inescapable unpleasantness of the word. And then imagine how much more unpleasant your relationship with the word would be were it applied to your new Sunday paper.
Because, should you elect to strike the New York Times crossword from the new edition, dear editors, you will undoubtedly be inviting such an application.
It’s apparent that the Sunday Star aims to be different from the weekday, workday, work-a-day Star: the Observer to the weekday paper’s Guardian. It wishes to look back upon the week that was with a slightly more discerning eye. And this bespeaks a nod to a certain intellectual cant. We’re not turning the volume up to eleven here, I understand; no-one wants to read Foucault in their morning paper, but it’s clear that the Sunday Star wants to both inform and educate. At least just a bit. For which initiative: bravo.
To this end, the new section should strive to build stronger minds, not pander to weaker ones. And yet, a mere two weeks into its mandate, it has given in to the lambastes of a bevy of benighted cruciverbalists who would rather pencil in a “three letter word for feline” (c-a-t) ad nauseum than improve their diction and cultural literacy. And while I know that a strong anti-intellectual streak courses through Toronto’s veins, I am willing to hazard the guess that for every single person who complained about the Times crossword’s being “too hard” there was a Torontonian too happily absorbed in working on last week’s puzzle to write and thank the Star for printing it.
Every other major city daily in Canada carries the New York Times crossword. Edmontonians can trudge out to the Journal box for it, Montrealers can sequester themselves in cafes with a Gazette reprinting, and Victorians can take the puzzle from the Times-Colonist*. Every Sunday. Without fail. And if there are sufficient numbers in those smaller cities to keep their papers printing the Times crossword, there are undoubtedly similar numbers here in Toronto.
Mediocrity. Try the word on for size. And then take it off and return the Times crossword to the paper. The Sunday Star’s mission depends upon it.
*The Times-Colonist, for the record, prints both the Times’ and an easier crossword for its readers.