Sunday, October 4, 2009

10/04/'09 Five Minute Riffs

Margaret Drabble decided —upon reaching a certain age— to cease writing serious novels; however, she did write a memoir which is also the tale of her fascination with the jigsaw puzzle. The New York Time's reviewer found that the book was a hybrid and he ,in a rather pompous manner,wrote of the frivolity of jigsaw puzzles. His entire review indicates a type of superiority—after all crossword puzzles appeal to a higher intellect then a jigsaw puzzle. I found the attitude incredibly arrogant. So what if jigsaws were initially create to help children learn their geography. Do we have a descending order of intelligence? Jigsaw puzzles , in particular the ones devised to create subtle differences in individual pieces, require extraordinary visual discernment skills. I once had a student in my class who did the puzzles with the cardboard side facing him and the colorful side hugging the table. He could pick out the appropriate piece without any trial and error.

As for hybrids—hasn't he read any of the literature of the past ten years—or is that a pronouncement on anything new.

His review did send me to my computer to discover some history of the jigsaw puzzle—

When Einson-Freeman of Long Island City, New York began his (dental) practice in 1931, he made puzzles and gave them away with toothbrushes.

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