Swank Filer, Where Are You?—Reprise
Santa Cruz, Calif.
I agree with Julie May [“Letters,” Dec. 3]. Frank Lewis’s puzzles were precise, clever and often funny. The current puzzles rely heavily on anagrams that often have little relationship to the clues. One might as well play number games.
Falls Church, Va.
Frank Lewis had a unique style that no other cryptic setter could possibly imitate, any more than another cartoonist could have drawn Gary Larson’s “The Far Side.” That said, Messrs. Kosman and Picciotto are producing the best American cryptic of the moment. Their clues are everything a cryptic clue should be: elegantly constructed, original and witty. The puzzles play fair and are eminently solvable with a bit of practice. Keep up the good work, guys!
Do not encourage Kosman and Picciotto to change their puzzles or clues in any way. I enjoy the additional solving required to figure out, after the grid is filled in, several of the clues in order to determine why the corresponding answers are correct.
Poland in Wartime
John Connelly’s “The Noble and the Base” [Dec. 3], on Poland and the Jews in World War II, while careful in historical detail, lapses into the old rhetoric of the Cold War in the following areas: (1) blaming the Soviet forces for the Nazi slaughter of the Polish Home Army in Warsaw in August 1944. Read the memoirs of General Zhukov of the Red Army, in which he gives the Russian side of the story and refutes this claim; (2) claiming that the Soviets placed all Poles who wanted to fight the Nazis into camps; this is also refuted by General Zhukov—the First Army of the Wojsko Polskie fought shoulder to shoulder with the Red Army and entered Warsaw on January 17, 1945; (3) Polish scholars as well as Communist and left scholars overlooked or minimized Polish anti-Semitism for political gain: readers should consult Polish-Jewish historian Ber Mark’s Uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto on the Home Army and public anti-Semitism, and Yuri Suhl’s They Fought Back, which has many first-person accounts of the Jewish Resistance and anti-Semitism in Poland and elsewhere. It also credits the honest contributions of those on the left fighting fascism and anti-Semitism.
While we know the many crimes of Stalin and some of his supporters, we must not broadly include all of the left in that analysis. Careful parsing of the historical record is needed. Unfortunately, we are getting more tales of this period that are rehashing the old “red equals black” ideology while giving the West a benign patina.