Four Down Two Across: Arrival In Alaska

A wonderful, if long, start to Robert’s and my trip to Alaska – up at 5:30 a.m. in New York City, to bed at midnight in Juneau, which is itself four hours behind New York. A busy day, too.

Tim and Phil of the Juneau Table Tennis Club met us at the airport. The drive to our hotel downtown was spectacular, even with overcast skies. Snowcapped mountains rise straight up from the edge of town. Streams cascade down the sides almost vertically. I’ve never seen anything like it.

The Juneau Empire, the local paper, had a front-page article (with photos) about our trip. And KTOO, Juneau’s public radio station, has been promoting our visit for two weeks.

This evening Robert and I put on a table tennis exhibition at a local middle school, which more than 100 people attended. Then we played with as many others as we could, separately and together, both singles and doubles.

In the car earlier tonight I thought of a puzzle: name a U.S. state capital whose last two letters are the same as the first two letters of a second state capital – whose last two letters themselves are the same as the first two letters of a third state capital. What capitals are these?

I’ve thought of two answers, which I’ll reveal tomorrow.

Follow Will and Robert’s Trip across Alaska through next week at “Four Down Two Across.”

Follow Crossword Puzzle Editor Will Shortz Through Alaska This Week

You might know Will Shortz from his work at The New York Times editing the daily crossword puzzle or maybe from his work on NPR as the puzzlemaster on Weekend Edition. Where you probably don’t know him is from the table tennis community.

In his second, or maybe third life, Mr. Shortz is, in fact, an avid table tennis player, and even owns his own club in upstate New York. He and his friend and colleague Robert Roberts manage the Westchester Table Tennis Center, spending their time organizing and hosting tournaments and developing the local community.

They take their hobby on the road as well, from puzzle tournaments to club visits around the planet, and this year Will plans to play (and film) 365 straight days of table tennis. As part of that effort, he’s agreed to take Gadling on the road for a week of his journey as he and Robert travel across Alaska. They’ll be leaving this afternoon, the fifth of June for their weeklong trip, and during the effort they’ll provide daily Vines documenting their journey across the nation’s largest state.

Check back daily for a slice of Will and Robert’s trip across Alaska, or you can follow along at the link here.