NYT Puzzlemaster Will Shortz Adds Alaska To His Table Tennis Quest

Will Shortz talks about his and Robert's table tennis tour.

Will Shortz talks about his and Robert's table tennis tour. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

Will Shortz returns a serve. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

Fred Ssessanga plays against Will Shortz (front) while Tim McCloud plays Robert Roberts (back) at the Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School Gym. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

Robert Roberts teaches a young boy how to hold the paddle. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

Fans of puzzles and table tennis were at Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School last night for a table tennis exhibition featuring puzzle master Will Shortz and Caribbean table tennis pro Robert Roberts. Shortz is most known for being New York Times’ crossword puzzle editor and NPR’s puzzle master, but Shortz’s other passion is table tennis.

“You would think puzzles and table tennis would be diametrically opposite activities. To me they are very similar. Both activities are things that you get completely wrapped up in, completely focused on, you forget everything else in the world, and when you’re done, you’re relaxed and you’re refreshed and you’re ready to go back to life.”

Juneau Table Tennis Club hosted last night’s exhibition. Shortz and Roberts spent the evening playing with members of the public. Shortz also got the crowd thinking with newly created word puzzles. Together Shortz and Roberts run a table tennis center in New York.

Juneau was the first stop of a full week table tennis tour throughout the state. Shortz and Roberts are leaving for Anchorage this afternoon. Shortz has a goal of playing table tennis in every state of the U.S. Alaska is his 40th.

Tune in to KTOO News later for more on Will Shortz’s table tennis visit in Juneau.


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