Four Down Two Across: Coming Home From Alaska

Stephen Greenwood, AOL

Back home safe and sound in New York, where the sun rises and sets at “normal” times!

On my last night in Alaska, someone asked me what my favorite part of the trip had been. I thought hard … and couldn’t point out one day or thing above the rest. Robert had the same reaction. The whole trip was a blast – one of our best road trips ever.

Perhaps what we liked the most, though, was the people we met – gracious, interesting and incredibly hospitable. Maybe that’s because of the table tennis connection more than Alaska. But everyone we met, to a person, was intensely proud of their state, with a stronger sense of pride than I’ve experienced anywhere else. They say once you visit Alaska, you never come all the way back.

And now, after this trip, I can say I’ve been to all 50 states.

Regarding yesterday’s puzzle from the chancellor, the answer, not surprisingly, is Alaska – around July 15, give or take, depending on where exactly you are in Alaska. But how is it possible for the sun to set twice in the same place in one day?

Well, during the winter in northern Alaska, the sun actually sets after midnight (and rises a few hours later). Then after the summer solstice, around June 22, the sun starts setting earlier (and rising later) by a few minutes each day. On July 15 in Fairbanks, the sun sets at 12:01 a.m., and then sets again at 11:57 p.m. Voila! Two sunsets in one day.