15 DOWN - Nickname for table tennis
November 2, 2015 9:27 PM   Subscribe

New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz has another hobby.
posted by Chrysostom (8 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
“So I decided I would own this. I’ve never had a kid, and suddenly a fifteen-year-old lands in my house.”
“He had a class project this week involving W. E. B. DuBois,” Shortz said. “One of the options was to make a puzzle, which he presented today.”

“Me and Will made it together,” Zhang said. “A word-search puzzle.”
Well, this seems pretty charming.
posted by amtho at 10:42 PM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Great story!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:05 AM on November 3, 2015

My father was a firefighter. They did 24-hour shifts living at the firehouse. They had a ping-pong table at the firehouse. You did not want to play ping-pong with any of the firefighters.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:06 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I wanted to know more about where the young man came from, what his life in China was like, and especially how he left China. But the focus was more on the American adult "nerds."
posted by NorthernLite at 5:52 AM on November 3, 2015

His club is a fantastic place. A friend of mine has played in tournaments there. Robert Roberts is the manager of the club, and also Will's traveling companion. Here's a short movie about the two of them. Roberts is a big reason Will's rating is up to 1842. Getting to play every day with someone of that caliber is an amazing opportunity. A while back I saw where he posted a map of the clubs they've visited, but I can't find it now.

Here's a short interview with Kai. And a video of the final mentioned in the article (he's in blue). More information from a TT forum. Sounds like he has relatives in NJ and his dad had some business in the US.
He is mentioned in an old Guardian article (2008) about Olympic training in China.
posted by MtDewd at 8:54 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I know it's common for students/protoges to live with coaches, but it still feels hinky.
posted by k5.user at 9:01 AM on November 3, 2015

Recently my office added a table to our common area. The first day everyone was mostly terrible. Then I got buried in a complicated coding problem and didn't bother to play for a month. Now the rest of the office is playing at a far more respectable level and I'm still a novice. #techstartupfirstworldproblems.
posted by humanfont at 9:41 AM on November 3, 2015

Sweet article.

We have a table at the office, with a modified Slack Pongbot and a website that shows rankings and graphs everyone's progress (good or bad). It's a good way to spin the body back up again when you start fading work wise.

The office just recently got new paddles that enable us to spin the ball much more than before, which is — unfortunately — separating the players with prior experience from the newbies.
posted by flippant at 4:58 PM on November 3, 2015

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