Diversions in the Post

Retired persons do the cryptic crosswords. Here’s an anagram for the lawyers
on the list. There’s wealth in the law. And one for the political
scientists: Parliaments conduce to paternalism. (Not!) And think about
straighten / shattering!

In our house we don’t always finish the weekday puzzles. We know who
composes them. Brits with evilly intelligent minds. They must be my age or
older. They’re familiar with British law and parliamentary government. They
love the opera, they stopped reading novels after H.G. Wells, and they
expect you to know the Greek alphabet backwards and forwards. If they write
“school,” you fill in Eton.

We always get the weekend cryptics, set by Henry and Emily. They’re
Canadians. “Presumably of the first water.” Answer: Lake Superior. They too
love the opera. They recently informed us that rewarding arch mixes up to
make Richard Wagner. Invalid ovation makes Antonio Vivaldi. I ask
Sam Ajzenstat whether that’s God’s judgement. Can’t be Him, he says, because
Vivaldi’s the rewarding arch and Wagner enjoys invalid ovations. (But Sam
loves Wagner’s music.)

Only one of us does the sudokos. They’re a solitary pursuit in any case.
Requiring concentration. Cryptics go better with two people, the paper
passing back and forth and lots of chit chat.

And then there are the pix! A major diversion. In the National Post the
front-page news photo is a story in itself. And always beautifully composed.
(So says the woman who did her undergraduate degree in art and archaeology).

This morning (7/8/08): A well-muscled man in military costume is running
from a scene of destruction, carrying on his back a grey-haired elder in a
short white robe and sandals. It’s an Afghan officer rescuing an
unidentified “injured man” from a car bombing. It could be Aeneus carrying
Anchises out of burning Troy.

Everything old is new again. How surprised I was in the fall of 2005 to see
on the Post’s front page armoured horses in battle. The scene was familiar
from a dozen classical paintings, a dozen movies. The horses’ eyes rolling,
ears back. Crouching figures scrambling to get out from under the hooves.
Men leaning from the saddle to attack, arms crooked, weapons raised.

It was the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. We were seeing the Israeli army
beating off Israeli resisters. Looking closer you could see that the horses’
armour was light translucent plastic. The attackers were using rods, not
swords.

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2 Responses to “Diversions in the Post”


  1. 1 Oona July 9, 2008 at 9:59 am

    The other day I was cooking dinner and happened to sing out loud: “everything old is new again.” Without missing a beat, Z sang back: “Sell it at twice the price.”


  1. 1 Bookmarks about File Trackback on January 18, 2009 at 11:15 am

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