Well, someone’s feeling a little Shortz-tempered.

July 5th, 2012 · 48 comments

What’s an 11-letter word for “passive-aggressive tactic?” Well, it happens to be the weapon of choice at the Portsmouth Public Library in New Hampshire, where Persephone says there is some serious crossword-puzzle drama going on.

(Personally, I would have liked to see someone add: “Even if it’s only the Monday puzzle.”)

If you are smart enough to solve The New York Times crossword puzzle, you are smart enough to make a photocopy first. Just 10 cents.

related: Shushing the shusher

FILED UNDER: library · New Hampshire · newspaper

48 responses so far ↓

  • #1   Sssshhh!

    Team Library. We’re living in a society, people. The library is a shared resource. If you find the paper on the bus, abuse it as you will, but do not spoil the puzzle for the other patrons.

    Jul 5, 2012 at 7:41 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.1   Sssshhh!

      Or any other part, for that matter. Lookin at you, coupon clippers.

      Jul 5, 2012 at 7:43 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.2   Jami

      And flat out newspaper thieves.

      Jul 5, 2012 at 8:13 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #2   jamie

    why dont you just buy your own paper ?

    Jul 5, 2012 at 8:14 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #2.1   The Elf

      That’s what I would wonder about. The paper at the library is there to be read, just like the books. You wouldn’t write in the margins of a library book, so why would you fill in the crossword puzzle or clip coupons?

      Buy your own if that’s what you want to do. Or solve it online if it is available (some newspaper extras are, some aren’t).

      Jul 6, 2012 at 8:32 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #3   Adriana

    My grandmother never met a crossword puzzle she couldn’t solve and could get through the NYT one in no time, but she was so technologically illiterate that she refused a debit card and wouldn’t use call waiting. At 83 years old, she conceded to my grandmother and allowed a cordless phone to come into the house.

    Jul 5, 2012 at 8:38 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.1   kermit

      At the risk of derailing this conversation, I am nowhere near 83 years old and I don’t use call waiting. Sorry, but anywhere outside a business establishment call waiting is rude.
      “Sorry, but potentially someone more exciting than you is calling me at the moment, so I’ll put you on hold to check it out.”
      Put me on hold and I will hang up on you.

      Jul 6, 2012 at 2:15 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.2   spoko bang

      @kermit: One of my college profs–in his late 30s, and very tech-savvy–refused to use call waiting for the same reason. As far as I know, he still does.

      [You're right, though. I think I see the rails heading off in another direction. Whoops.]

      Jul 6, 2012 at 6:04 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.3   GracieBalloon

      My dad still has a rotary dial wall phone. If he had his way it would be the only phone in the house, but my stepmom insisted that they get a cordless phone too. Somebody’s got to drag that man into the 21st century!

      Jul 6, 2012 at 8:24 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.4   dizit

      My husband refuses to have a cell phone, while none of my children have ever had anything other than cells. I’ve tried to convince my husband that a cell (at least in the car) is a matter of safety in case of accident, to no avail.
      If one isn’t working free-lance, where a phone call is a potential job, call-waiting is just flat out rude.

      Jul 6, 2012 at 10:05 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.5   looptiloo

      You guys realize that non work related emegencies happen, right? I almost never hang up on the person I’m talking to just b/c another find has called, but I will still pick up the other line in case it’s an emergency. My mother felt that call waiting was unnecessary when i was younger, until I ended up in the freaking hospital w/ a broken ankle and no legal guardian (a teacher had to stay w/ me until they tracked my mother down). Turns out she was on a call w/ her parents in England for a good two hours and had no idea anyone was trying to call her.

      Jul 6, 2012 at 11:22 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.6   kermit

      Ah, yes the ol’ “what if it’s an emergency” line. Emergencies are going to happen no matter how many precautions one takes. Your mother could have very well forgotten to charge her phone, accidentally dropped it some place or be unable to fish it out of her bag on time to answer.

      In the days of texting, voicemail and email, putting a friend on hold because somebody else calls you is unbelievably rude.

      If you have no qualms about putting your friend on hold, you shouldn’t be surprised if they hang up on you. Consider the possibility that they hung up on you because they too have more pressing matters to attend to. And since you know their number, you can call them back when you are actually free to speak to them.

      Jul 7, 2012 at 1:03 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.7   Pit Pat

      I hate phones. I’ll happily take email OR face-to-face conversations over phone calls any day.

      Jul 7, 2012 at 2:16 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.8   JME

      So, your grandmother conceded to your grandmother to allow a cordless phone into the house? Like your paternal grandmother conceded to your maternal grandmother or something?

      Jul 7, 2012 at 7:22 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.9   Serenity

      I’m with Loop. And if there is an emergency, I don’t want to find out potentially much later bc I’m being told about it via email, text, or voicemail. I’m never bothered by being put on hold for call waiting, except in cases where I’m put on hold forever. That IS rude, and then I will hang up. But quite frankly, the only person I’ve ever known to be as annoyed by call waiting in general (as those above me sound), is a very anti social, bitches-about-everything, relative. And of course, when he calls, he likes to blabber on forever about nothing, so yes, I can and do use the call waiting to help me end calls with him, lol ;)

      Jul 7, 2012 at 7:24 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.10   Ma'am

      I think if someone hung up on me because I put them on hold for a moment, I wouldn’t miss them much and wouldn’t call them again. I believe you should give someone your full attention when speaking to them, but a lot of people here seem to be taking it to the next level. I do have a life outside of this conversation and will try to keep intrusions to a minimum, but not at the risk of ignoring everything else.
      Call waiting comes standard on every cell phone I have purchased. Some of you are a tad uptight.

      Jul 8, 2012 at 3:48 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.11   kermit

      Er, what exactly is the difference between putting someone on hold and if they’ve hung up on you, taking all of two seconds to call them back once you’re done?

      See, this is exactly what is so unbelievably arrogant and rude about putting people on hold. You’re not satisfied if the other person also deals with their own other stuff while you’re dealing with your other stuff.

      It’s imperative that they wait for you, and don’t do anything else in the interim except wonder when you’ll return to their call. That’s the very definition of uptight arrogance.

      Jul 8, 2012 at 6:11 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.12   Lil'

      If I’m talking on the phone and I get another call, I will put Caller 1 on hold while I answer the other line to make sure it’s not an emergency. If it’s not, I’ll call Caller 2 back when I’m done with Caller 1. I am a good friend, but I have a life outside of Caller 1. I was on a call years ago when Caller 2 called to inform me that my mother was in an accident and was rushed to the hospital. Good-bye Caller 1. Things happen. If my “friends” are so arrogant to think I should absorb myself in them and disregard everyone else in my life and every possibility that my family may need me before we hang up, then don’t call. I’m not that co-dependent, and I can’t satisfy others who are that co-dependent.

      Jul 9, 2012 at 7:13 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.13   kermit

      I’m putting you on hold now because you’re clearly not listening.

      This isn’t about co-dependency. It’s about arrogance. It’s okay for you to put someone on hold but not okay for the other person to hang up on you?

      Evidently, you think it’s a huge inconvenience for you to hit “redial” and call them back. But it’s definitely not an inconvenience for them to be kept on hold wondering.

      It’s a matter of consistency. You don’t get to complain for having to call people back if you put them on hold. If you get to put people on hold, you also get to be put on hold yourself. It’s not a one-way street.

      Jul 9, 2012 at 1:36 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.14   Serenity

      No, we’re listening, we just don’t agree. None of us ( and most people in general ) , mind being put on hold for a few seconds while someone picks up the other line to see who is calling, and why. And we think being unreasonably uptight about it, as you seem to be, is extreme and unwarranted. It does say something about your personality, and not in a good way.

      Jul 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.15   kermit

      Calling someone who expects basic phone courtesy co-dependent either shows that the person doesn’t know what “co-dependent” means or that they’re not listening. It does say something about their personality, and not in a good way.

      People who make a habit of putting other people on hold (and aren’t gabby teenagers) rarely put someone on hold “for a few seconds”.

      To them, sure it’s a few seconds. In real time, it’s more like 10+ minutes.

      My mother does this all the time when I visit (in person) and puts the poor soul on the phone on hold. Because clearly it’s vital that she tell me right at that instant about some mundane errand crossing her mind rather than finish the conversation with the person on the phone.

      And this is the part where I hang up on this conversation.

      Jul 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.16   Serenity

      Well, I am sorry you have friends and relatives with such poor manners. I, however, can assure you that I have never been put on hold for more than a few seconds, and have never done that to anyone, either. I have never been put on hold for 10 minutes, or even close to it. If someone did that to me, or I did that to someone, I would expect them to hang up, and I would do the same. And while the person calling you codependent may be a bit over the top, so is calling people who use call waiting in the normal way most of us do “arrogant”.

      Jul 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.17   Lil'

      Kermit, I think what’s most arrogant is the fact that you must feel you are the center of your “friend’s” universe until you are satisfied that the conversation is over. You appear to need validation that you are important. You feel slighted by the fact that something else just might be a bigger priority in your friend’s life. “How dare you put ME on hold? So what if it’s your kid’s school, or your spouse, or the hospital! Call them back!” Putting someone on hold for a moment isn’t a breach of proper phone etiquette. The problem is your apparent view that putting someone on hold PERIOD is rude. Your “Sorry, but potentially someone more exciting than you is calling me at the moment, so I’ll put you on hold to check it out” makes that clear. You can’t be everyone’s Number 1, Kermit. If you are on hold too long, then yes, hang up. But it’s clear that any amount of hold time for you is too long.

      Jul 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.18   Merri

      I think there’s such a thing as call waiting etiquette; it’s ridiculous to dismiss it entirely as rude. You can see the number that’s calling so if it’s something that might be crucial like a call from your child, you tell Caller 1 that you need to take the call. You tell Caller 2 that you have another call and give them a chance to briefly state their business. If it’s an emergency, you go back to Caller 1 and tell them you have an emergency and you’ll call them later. If it’s not, you tell Caller 2 you’ll get back to them and return to Caller 1.

      Jul 9, 2012 at 6:22 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.19   The Elf

      I don’t like call-waiting either, but sometimes people have it for good reason. For instance, I never object if my doctor friend puts me on hold to check the other call. More often than not, he comes back and tells me that it is a patient and he’ll call me back afterwards. Same with my friend who runs a business out of his home – if he has a work call, that takes priority. Another friend got call waiting because his elderly mother is in assisted living and if it’s her or her facility, he needs to take it right away. I get it. To those people, my phone call is (appropriately) not a high priority.

      But random friend whose other call is most likely just another friend? Ugh. I hate it.

      Jul 10, 2012 at 7:03 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.20   Wrench

      Jesus, who knew “I have another call, do you mind if I answer?” sparked such pearl-clenching offense.

      I don’t remember having cell phones without call waiting standard. While, yes, I have had friends who take advantage of it by just leaving myself or another person on hold till Conversation #2 is done (however long that takes) my overwhelming experience is that most people just click over to the other call, find out who it is and what the call is about, and if it’s not an emergency go back to Conversation #1.

      Honestly I’ve just never bothered to get my panties in enough of a twist to consider it rude, especially now that I have kids. It’s no different than if you’re chatting with a friend at a party. I’m not going to get all in a tizzy if someone else sidles up, tells my friend one or two sentences, then goes back into the mix. My friend is rude only if he doesn’t excuse himself before leaving me to babble at myself like a jackass. And if the Interrupter is telling my friend about a legitimate emergency then I’m a jackass by being offended that I didn’t get to the killer punchline (“Then he said, ‘Lady, that’s not my hand!’”) first.

      Jul 11, 2012 at 4:12 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #4   Charlie

    If you are smart enough to work in a library, you are smart enough to know that photocopying the crossword puzzle in the New York Times is technically a violation of copyright laws.

    Jul 5, 2012 at 9:26 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.1   Vulpis

      Wouldn’t that fall under personal use, actually? Then again, to paraphrase the sign, if you’re smart enough to be concerned about that, you’re smart enough to *not* be writing on the library’s copy of the paper, you’d buy your own.

      Jul 6, 2012 at 1:25 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.2   Poltergeist

      Or maybe the librarian, like most people (myself included), just doesn’t give a shit.

      Jul 6, 2012 at 1:59 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.3   kermit

      You’d be surprised how touchy some people can get about the NYT crossword puzzle.

      The NYT subscription charges extra for accessing old crossword puzzles on their on-line archive precisely because there’s enough crossword puzzle fanatics around.

      Jul 7, 2012 at 1:06 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #5   SeeYouInTea

    I hated those little douchebrats that would do the Look n’ Finds in the Highlights at the doctor’s office. I wouldn’t doubt that an adult did it as well.

    Jul 5, 2012 at 9:43 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #6   bamBAM!!

    Clearly, even librarians aren’t smart enough to know that “Just 10 cents” is not a sentence.

    Jul 5, 2012 at 10:29 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.1   Jami

      If you ever worked in a library you’d know that you have to dumb things down for 98% of the patrons. After all, these are people who walk right pass the big sign that says “TAX FORMS” and asks where the tax forms are. Who ask if we have DVDs when they’re looking right at them. And who try to push the door when the word PULL is written large letters above the handles.

      Basically, it’s like that scene in the movie Clerks where Dante & Randall talk about dumb customers. Only throw in people who think Twilight and 50 Shades Of Grey are “The best books ever!!!!!!!!!!!”

      It’s almost enough to make one want to become a DC-like super villain.

      Jul 6, 2012 at 6:46 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.2   Awlbiste

      And yet we need Master’s degrees to work for these people.

      Jul 7, 2012 at 10:43 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #7   bitchy the dwarf

    I always bring my local paper to work for my coworkers to enjoy. I also make it a point to tell them to copy anything they need, rather than cut up my paper. Just zero cents, LOL.

    Although if it’s after lunch and everyone has already looked at it, the paper and all of it’s contents are fair game. Granted I don’t work in a library ;)

    Jul 6, 2012 at 4:56 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #8   Vulpis

    Hmm. I wish the like system wasn’t tied to Facebook–I’m *very* Team Library on this one.
    Worse, it’s not limited to newspapers and magazines, either–I’m into model rocketry, and the local library has this rather nice book on models in general that among other things, includes plans for a simple, sturdy 2-stage model. Or at least it *would* have, if it weren’t for the fact that some child of unwed donkey backside cut out the nessessary templates (with a hobby knife) rather than sensibly tracing or photocopying the page. Heck, I wouldn’t do that sort of thing with my *own* book, why would you do it to one you didn’t own??

    Jul 6, 2012 at 1:30 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #9   Mrs.Beasley

    When I managed a medical facility, I made an effort to keep our waiting room reading materials current and interesting.

    Unfortunately, we incurred a fair amount of magazine cannibalizing, and sometimes theft of entire issues. (Large-print Readers Digest was a particularly hot commodity, often not lasting more than a day.) Securing the issues in plastic magazine binders did not noticeably alleviate the problem.

    Ultimately I printed up attractive labels and affixed one to the cover of each binder: “Our staff is pleased to photocopy – at no charge – any articles for your personal use.”

    Patients actually did start coming to the receptionists to request copies. It made a striking difference in our periodical abuse!

    Jul 6, 2012 at 6:10 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #10   davey

    So what if someone did the crossword? What, are *you* too cheap to buy your own paper as well? Evidently you are since you advocate violating the newspaper’s copyright by photocopying it instead. What great standards you have.

    From now on, I’m going to start filling in crosswords that I find in public. I’m terrible at crosswords so I’ll just fill in rubbish answers, but boy, will that make people happy.

    Jul 7, 2012 at 7:50 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.1   Poltergeist

      Point is, if it’s not your newspaper, you don’t write in it/damage it. Same as with a book that doesn’t belong to you. It’s courtesy more than anything.

      I see nothing wrong with photocopying, however. If copyright laws ban that, then those are some BS laws. What if I was such a huge freaking fan of the NYTimes crossoword that I took a piece of paper and traced the puzzle/clues by hand off of my friend’s newspaper? Much more tedious, but otherwise the same. What are they going to do, arrest me? Just don’t claim it as your own/make money off it.

      Jul 7, 2012 at 10:45 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.2   Jami

      If it’s anything like the photocopying of sheet music then the law only applies if you’re making money off of it. But for non-monetary or educational purposes you can copy all you want.

      So let’s say a choir teacher only has one copy of The Sound Of Silence and no budget to buy more. He’s allowed to make enough copies of it for the entire class so they can learn the song. However, the second that song is used by that class to go out and make money, the teacher can be fined up to $10,000 a page.

      Basically, I don’t think the NYTimes is going to sue if you copy their crossword puzzle unless you make a book out of it and sell it.

      Jul 8, 2012 at 5:07 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.3   Vulpis

      Might want to check the ‘Fair Use’ rules, there.

      Jul 8, 2012 at 7:18 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #11   Cyberjar88

    However, if it’s a Saturday puzzle: knock yourself out.

    Jul 7, 2012 at 6:12 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #12   bitchy the dwarf

    i’m thinking that almost everything in the library is copywrited. Yet, it’s very common practice for them to have a copy machine. Why else do you think they’re there? I don’t see many people copying their handwritten notes or other personal paperwork. Call the Feds!

    Jul 8, 2012 at 4:50 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #13   Mel K

    My local blood bank photocopies the puzzle pages daily so that donors can do the current puzzle while they wait to donate or recover with refreshments.

    I often hear other donors expressing how nice it is to have a puzzle that others haven’t stuffed up.

    Jul 8, 2012 at 5:30 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.1   Pit Pat

      Mmmmm – stuffed puzzle. You’re making me hungry.

      Jul 8, 2012 at 8:09 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #14   RubySun bang

    I think this is inevitably going to turn into a crossword-lovers-waiting-outside-for-the-library-doors-to-open, scuffling, elbowing free-for-all.

    We need more of this in libraries. Shake things up a bit.

    Jul 9, 2012 at 2:29 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #14.1   Jami

      We already have enough of that with computer users. Thank you very much.

      Jul 11, 2012 at 1:17 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #15   Ed

    I work at a public library and this is a real problem. Red faced old men get even redder faces when they open the paper and someone else has done the crossword puzzle.

    Jul 11, 2012 at 6:33 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up


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