G.M. Van Pool Kensington wants to know, "To whom does one complain about Washington Post crossword puzzles?"

In our puzzle for May 23, the clue for a four-letter word was, "Norman's state, abbr." The city in Oklahoma came to District Liner Van Pool's mind, so he wrote in OKLA.

This made the puzzle somewhat more difficult to solve than it would otherwise have been because adjoining words in the puzzle later made it clear that OHIO, not OKLA, made things come out right.

Van Pool says he finds no record of a Norman in Ohio, and points out that Ohio isn't an abbreviation. I have to assume," he concludes, "that Virginia Godwin, listed as the composer of the puzzle, made a mistake."

I assume so, too, Van. I am from Ohio and know the state fairly well. I can tell you that it has a Norwalk, but if it also has a Norman, that information has been withheld from me.

However, there are two good reasons for not writing to Virginia Godwin to file a complaint:

Lots of other irate puzzle fans have probably already filled her mailbox with complaints. And we'd feel pretty silly if her defense was, "I didn't have a city in mind.I was referring to Norman Jones, who lives in a houseboat on the Ohio River, for which 'Ohio' is an abbreviation."

Incidentally, the "Norman Jones" in the foregoing is obviously a made-up name. Years ago, I used "Junius Q. Heimedinger" when I needed a made-up name.

One day, however, a reader told me that a family named Heimedinger had moved into our area, so I switched to Thislewhist, a made-up name I borrowed from a radio-TV buddy who used it for years.

Now it appears that Thistlewhistt's jersey may also have to be retired, along with Heimedinger's. The last time I referred to J.Q. Thistlewhist, Mrs. Howard Oberiander of Bethesda wrote:

"When you are making up names to illustrate a point, please don't use Junius Q. Thistlewhist. We have a most respected member of our church. Dr. J. Richard Thistlethwaite, and we have enough trouble saying it properly without having you confuse us further."

On, dear! Now all I need is a letter from Ohio that says, "My name is Norman Jones and I live in a houseboat on the Ohio River. My friends tell me you have been poking fun at me. What are you, some kind of wise guy?"


In a column last week, I passed along Rosalie Gindes' comments about truck drivers who tailgate and then cut sharply in front of passenger car drivers who stick to the legal speed limit, Emily L. Orgel of Adelphi adds this interesting comment:

"Where we went to Florida during the Easter vacation, we listened to truck drivers carry on about cars going the speed limit. One was carrying on that he could not make any time and he should push the car off the road.We heard the same sort of thing all the way down."

I do not understand people who think they have a God-given right to drive as fast or as recklessly as they wish. I do not understand people who think that community rules do not apply to them.

I think it is deplorable that we have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on radar detectors and other electronic gear whose primary purpose is to thwart police officers who are trying to keep us alive.

Does it really make sense for a driver to give more attention to CB reports on the whereabouts of the police than to his driving?

That's about as intelligent as a child playing with matches when his parents aren't watching.


In response to my plea for legible handwriting, William G. Kelly writes:

"Your column of May 23 comments on poor handwriting. I am guilty but my thoughts are faster than my writing. Note I do not cross t nor dot i which wastes time and effort and as taught in speed writing."

There was more, but District Liner Kelly and I are temporarily out of synch. His speed writing impedes my speed reading.


Speaking of being out of synch, Herm Albright is concerned about the news that Billy Carter has stopped drinking beer. Herm muses, "Imagine all those peanuts and no suds!"


Bob Orben says, "Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard to get her poor dog a bone. But when she got there, the cupboard was bare - and I didn't even know the Department of Energy handled cupboards."