Enigmatology



This morning The Guardian published a great interview with Ken Burns.

Among your frequent collaborators is the actor Peter Coyote, who often narrates your films. What does he bring to the mix?

I love Peter like a brother. He’s an extraordinary reader. And he has this amazing gift – we never send him anything in advance. He reads it cold the first time. And I swear to you, it’s take one or take two that is usually what’s in there. His voice is close to mine, though clearly with the timbre and qualities that a professional actor brings to it. He’s immensely interested in our subjects and he has the ability to inhabit the word.

Earlier in the week there was a long profile of Will Shortz, the New York Times’s crossword editor.

At 14, Shortz sold his first puzzle. At 16, he began contributing to puzzle magazines. In college, where he did a self-designed major, he earned the world’s first degree in enigmatology, the study of puzzles. He also did a law degree, but never took the bar, because he went immediately into a career in puzzles.