concept to publication

Category: huh

Crossword puzzle detail with answer "for heaven's sake."

The cruxiform crucible

completed crosswordThings I have learned from doing the NYT crossword:

  • The most famous of all musicians is Brian ENO.
  • Anything mixed up is an OLEO. Not to be confused with AIOLI, foremost among condiments, or OREO, the most popular snack ever.
  • All Asian holidays are TET.
  • Scandinavian queens like to name their sons OLAV.
  • A poem is probably an ODE.
  • If you’re on the water you must be ASEA, and very likely ALEE.
  • To get someone’s attention, say PSST.
  • Taps nearly always produce ALE. But MEAD is a more popular drink than anyone knew (other than crossword constructors). It is nearly always poured from a EWER.
  • History is the study of ERAS. Perhaps the most important is that of Pope LEOIV.
  • If you only know one muse, make her ERATO.
  • Native Americans are often ERIE, which is also by far the greatest of the Great Lakes.
  • The most significant architectural features are the APSE and the NAVE.
  • Of all of the stories in the bible, the most compelling are those of ENOS and ESAU.
  • Don’t forget your SSN.
  • When climbing, keep an eye out for ARETES.
  • Shakespeare never produced a greater line than “ET TU, Brute.”
  • Pinyin has still not been accepted for romanizing Chinese in Crosswordese. Never write Laozi, always Lao TSE.
  • A great jazz singer is ELLA. Hey, they got one right!

Errorist alert

sign showing errorist alert levels

I made this little sign for my office. I thought it might come in handy.

This marker goes with it:

marker showing today's threat level

Color psychology

pantone color swatches

I was thinking the other day about how my color preferences have changed over time, and that got me looking at a few pop psychology websites about color preferences.

The basic problem with these sites is that there are particular hues and then there are their concepts. So if a site asks you to rank your preferences by clicking on color swatches, you might say, “I like red, but I don’t like that red. Whereas if you are asked to quickly name your favorite color without thinking about it and you name red, you are most likely thinking of the concept of redness rather than of a particular hue.

Of course the notion of a favorite color is ultimately absurd. Red would be meaningless without all of the other colors to juxtapose with it. From the designer’s point of view, colors take meaning from how they are used in relation to other elements.

But as a sort of amusing parlor game it can be interesting to wonder about why one’s preferences change. As a child if you asked my favorite color I would have said blue — that’s the color I usually picked when choosing board game tokens, for example. As a young adult I would probably have given you a lecture about color philosophy and how existence precedes essence and why that is relevant to de Saussurian linguistics, but if (quite justifiably) hit over the head and forced to pick I would have said yellow. Now I find myself increasingly drawn to green, and when I go clothes shopping I often wish there were more greens offered (there are few).

I noticed that there is a great deal of disagreement on the various sites about what your color preferences “mean.” According to one representative site, a preference for blue reflects a conservative, reliable, sincere, trusting, and trustworthy personality; a preference for yellow a cheerful, fun, creative, and analytical bent; and a predilection for green a practical, down-to-earth, stable, balanced, compassionate, and calm nature. Sure.

A few years ago I read a couple of erudite books on color in art by John Gage, former head of the Department of History of Art at Cambridge University. Gage looked at color from a variety of different disciplines. I found his surveys interesting, but I find I have retained little of what I read in his books. It’s probably because I favor the wrong colors.

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