Sunday, July 5, 2015

Cryptical Envelopment (Sunday brunch: July 5, 2015)

Some of you will instantly recognize the title of this post: it’s one of the standards of a Grateful Dead concert, and as good a summation of their life and work as anything else.

The bus came by and I got on—that’s where it all began;
There was Cowboy Neal, at the wheel, of a bus to never-ever land.

The song, written in 1967, is the first part of a three-part piece called “That’s it for the Other One.” It refers to the events of that summer and two of the people who accompanied the Dead in their early travels: Owsley Stanley, who made and supplied much of the LSD that fueled the psychedelic events of the time; and Neal Cassady, one of the Merry Pranksters on Ken Kesey’s bus. 
The tune starts light, and then an ominous roaring drum riff kicks off the second movement, which gets fast and dark and trippy.  Then it turns into an extended improvisational jam.  Eventually, the jam winds up and comes back to the first theme.  Then sometimes they carry that theme around a while and other times they’d segue into a different song.  The “Cryptical” in the name doesn’t have any significance: they just needed to assign a name to the song for publishing reasons.

Puzzles: sometimes mind-bending, often addictive, but a lot healthier than LSD...

No weekend Wall Street Journal due to the holiday.  Other regular weekly cryptics are found in the National Post (easy this week, but Falcon needed a lot of time) and the Globe and Mail (harder than usual).  Richard Silvestri constructed the New York Times cryptic this weekend: did you like it more or less than the Hex puzzles that usually occupy that space?

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