NPR’s Will Shortz among UCSB speakers in virtual programs
Editor’s note: This is the second in a series on UCSB Arts & Lectures’ virtual programs.
Will Shortz has a way with words.
Just look at how he plays around with them as the crossword editor for the New York Times and NPR’s puzzlemaster for its “Weekend Edition Sunday” program.
Mr. Shortz will have a word or two to say about puzzles during a UCSB Arts & Lectures talk. The virtual program will stream at 5 p.m. on Jan. 28 at artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
Mr. Shortz has been NPR’s puzzlemaster since the public radio network started its “Weekend Edition Sunday” program in 1987. Each Sunday morning, NPR contacts a listener who follows Mr. Shortz’s instructions and fills in the blanks for his on-air puzzles, which have their share of clever twists.
Mr. Shortz sold his first puzzle professionally when he was 14 to Venture, a denominational youth magazine. He’s also the only one in the world with a college degree in Enigmatology, the study of puzzles. He earned it in 1974 at Indiana University.
Besides his work for NPR and the New York Times, Mr. Shortz is the former editor of Games magazine and is the founder of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. He has been the tournament’s director since 1978.
In addition to his love for puzzles, Mr. Shortz is an avid table tennis player and the owner and director of America’s largest table tennis facility.
During his UCSB talk, Mr. Shortz will talk about the relationship between his love for table tennis and puzzles. The program will stream from his Westchester Table Tennis Center in Pleasantville, N.Y.
Mr. Shortz’s talk will include a Q&A session.
In addition to the puzzlemaster, UCSB Arts & Lectures’ talks this month include Isabel Wilkerson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” (Random House”). Her virtual talk will stream at 5 p.m. Jan. 26.
“Caste” examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how people’s lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions, according to UCSB Arts & Lectures.
Ms. Wilkerson will discuss her book, which explores the caste systems of America, India and Nazi Germany and the pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations.
Ms. Wilkerson’s exploration of caste includes stories about people, including the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., baseball’s Satchel Paige, and a single father and his toddler son.
Her talk will be followed by a Q&A session moderated by Ingrid Banks, chair of the UCSB Department of Black Studies.