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20

WEDNESDAY

I like crossword puzzles, but I know where to draw the line. When I get hit with “a four-letter word for ‘African antelope’,” I generally scrawl in the first four-letter word that comes to mind. Other people aren’t so fortunate. See, they’re…geeks. Take Marc Romano. Not only can he tell you how long on average it takes him to complete a Sunday New York Times puzzle (16 minutes), but he’s also quite opinionated regarding the relative merits of former Times puzzle editor Eugene T. Maleska and successor Will Shortz. (He prefers Shortz but regards Maleska with an awe generally reserved for Old Testament prophets.) Fortunately, Romano has a sense of humor that makes his Crossworld: One Man’s Journey Into America’s Crossword Obsession a far more entertaining read than that Sudoku grid you’ve been staring at all afternoon. Romano speaks at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919.

(Michael Little)