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I have a fun little story to share with you: Someone very special in the Daily Kos community has been mentioned in today's New York Times, but it's not in the way you might think.  In fact, it's in the coolest little way possible.

Today's NYT crossword puzzle has this clue:

18-Across.  Event held on January 26, 1986 (11 letters)

I'll give you a hint: The answer really speaks to me, but really, the answer is speaking to you.

Take your time.


Give up?

It's me!  SUPERBOWLXX!  Today, I have been enshrined in the halls of NYT cruciverbalism as 18-Across.  Cheers to puzzlemaster Will Shortz and constructor Kevin Choset for selecting me to join their hallowed ranks!  Let May 3, 2011 be a day of celebration for puzzle-solving Daily Kos users everywhere!


Now, I know that's not as awesome as being able to say that your letter to the editor was published in the NYT (as aaraujo can say), or that your editorials on education have published  in the same paper (as teacherken can say).  But how often can a private citizen like myself say that I've been cited in a big national newspaper?  Unless I write a national bestseller, I'm not likely to appear in the NYT as a clue in the puzzle again any time soon.  Then again, maybe one day I'll be published in the NYT as a puzzle constructor myself (and I've been trying).

Okay okay okay.  I know what some of you must be thinking: "C'mon, SBXX.  The crossword puzzle wasn't referring to you.  It was a reference to the big game where the Chicago Bears won the NFL championship.  How narcissistic do you have to be to try to claim credit for seeing your username in a crossword puzzle when it wasn't even talking about you?  They were just trying to make the answers fit together.  Should every guy named Bob or Sam or Ian or Ernie get overexcited if he sees his name show up randomly in the puzzle?"

You know what?  You're right -- totally narcissistic.  When it comes to my username, I'm as self-absorbed as they come, to the point of berating people to put a space in between the words "Super" and "Bowl" if they want to refer to the big game, and to spell it as one word if they're talking about me.  But today was still a pleasant surprise.

Most Daily Kos usernames, due to their length and personalized nature, don't lend themselves well to crossword puzzle entries -- you won't be seeing any syndicated puzzle with an answer like GILESGOATBOY or CLIVEALLHATNOHORSERODEO.  My username doesn't lend itself that well to crosswords either.  SUPERBOWLXX isn't exactly the most common or easiest word to fit into a crossword grid.  Seriously, you try thinking of an eleven-letter word with a B in the middle and two X's at the end.  And why pick Super Bowl XX?  Shortz and Choset could have gone with Super Bowl II, or IV, or VI, or even IX.  Surely any of those Roman numeral pairs would have been an easier combination of letters to fit with other entries than two X's.  Actually, today's puzzle theme only called for the first word of SUPER followed by an additional six letters, so they probably could have used something else that would have been a smoother fit like SUPER BOWL AD, or SUPERLATIVE, or SUPERVISION, or SUPER SOAKER.

But when I filled in the answer to 18-Across, a great big smile beamed across my face, and not because it made me think of the '85 Chicago Bears and their Super Bowl Shuffle.  It's because I've spent the last two-and-a-half years blogging here under this username, writing nearly 8000 comments and publishing over 180 diaries.  The handle SuperBowlXX has become something of a second life for me, where I feel completely free to express my political opinions without fear of real-world tension or awkwardness.  My real-world name is a common enough name that if I saw it in the grid, I would just shrug and move on.  But seeing my Daily Kos handle?  That was cool.  If only for a fleeting moment, it was fun to imagine that the nation's finest crossword puzzle was giving me a shout-out.  You can ask brillig, who was also pretty excited when I told her the NYT crossword put her username in at 1-Across last year.

In fact, using the database of NYT puzzles at, let me take a moment to recognize a few other Kossacks whose usernames have graced the pages of the finest crossword puzzle in the country ever since Shortz took over as puzzle editor in late 1993:

begone: 21-Across, Monday, May 14, 2007.

Hunter: 4 times, most recently as 2-Down, Friday, March 19, 2010.

Ojibwa: 4 times, most recently as 40-Down, Saturday, August 21, 2010.

wader: 8 times, most recently as 58-Across, Friday, February 13, 2009.

weasel: 11 times, most recently as 42-Down, Saturday, June 19, 2010.

Trix: 18 times, most recently as 56-Down, Friday, April 29, 2011.

otto: 156 times, most recently as 58-Across, Saturday, April 16, 2011.  He might have the most crossword-friendly username in the Kosmos.

kos: 58 times, most recently as 35-Down, Wednesday, December 29, 2010.  Whenever this answer appears in the NYT puzzle (and pretty much any puzzle), the clue always refers to boxing knockouts.  However, the popular offbeat crossword constructor Brendan Emmett Quigley once built a grid on his own website in January 2010 with the following clue:

39-Down.  Blog with the subhead "State of the Nation" (8 letters)

I'll give you exactly 1.2 seconds to figure that one out.

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