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Retrospection

A second quality I confess to is an addiction to puzzle solving. I still do Sudoku and crossword puzzles in the morning paper. When I was young I loved playing cards — bridge especially — because the game was an intellectual puzzle. I bought books of cryptograms and did them. This affliction has been part of my psyche for as long as I can remember. When I was an undergraduate I loved the logic course I took because it involved lots of riddles about “some natives always lie, some always tell the truth, …” or “how can three cannibals row three missionaries across a river. …” I always felt a warm sense of satisfaction when I could work out the answer, which was not as often as I would have liked. It was the same with mathematics and probability problems. The same is true today with the morning newspaper puzzles. This inclination has led to a fascination with codes, paradoxes, mathematics, and, probably, foreign languages, which seem to be codes of some sort. (This fascination nearly caused me to change my major in my last year as an undergraduate. I took a year-long course in ancient history taught by Professor Evelyn Clift and became enthralled by the work of Michael Ventris, who deciphered a written language called “Linear B” and showed that it was, despite some classical scholars’ assertions to the

contrary, Greek; Chadwick, 1958.) I am lucky to have some talent for and enjoyment from doing these things.