Dear Norm and Psy-Arters,

Since wife-Jan and I are regular puzzlers and since we enjoyed "Word Play," I wanted to respond to your query, but could only think of social or superficial reasons for my interest in each day's NYTimes puzzle--doing it together, filling up waiting time like the 30 minute train commute to the City (a perfect time-fit), etc. Then I remembered a moment in the film that suggested a deeper, psychological motive, though of a cognitive more than psychoanalytic kind. You recall that it was said by someone (I think the piano player) that, although you'd expect English and History Professors to be the best puzzlers, in fact computer programmers and pianists had that honor because they were the most practiced in decoding quickly miscellaneous information. I think, then, that the reason I find doing the puzzles stimulating (despite their irritations) is that it exercises my brain not in the usual way, which is of course by reading, but by challenging me to process miscellaneous information quickly, an otherwise unaccustomed activity that therefore feels more mentally refreshing (if otherwise less important) than reading.

Good luck on your project, and all the best,