When I was in junior high, I sat next to a kid who was memorizing spelling words for an upcoming spelling bee. Espresso Pundit fans will know that I spent exactly zero time memorizing spelling words, but we became friends anyway. My friend went on to be editor of our high school newspaper and cover high school sports for the Star. Perhaps seeing the bleak future of journalism, he majored in engineering at UA then moved to Phoenix to work for Garrett. That's about the time that Debbie and I moved to Phoenix and our families spent many evenings together playing Clue or Scrabble. I could never beat Darin at Scrabble, even though I worked hard at it--memorizing the two letter words, then the two-to-make-three combinations then memorizing all of the J, Z, Q and K words up to 5 letters. I got through most of the seven letter stem words, but he still beat me.
Darin and Kaye moved back to Tucson and he was one of the founding employees at Ventana Medical Systems. Our families have remained friends. He's always retained his love for words and can do the Sunday New York Times crossword--in ink--in about 20 minutes.
A few months ago, Darin decided that while DOING the NYT Sunday crosswords was fun, WRITING them would be even better...so that's what he did.
Today's Sunday New York Times Crossword puzzle was written by my friend Darin McDaniel. There's a website that tracks NYT puzzles and profiles the authors. Here's the link to Darin's (solved) puzzle. The theme is "Man about Town", hence the homage in my title.