Crossword PuzzlesThe long, dreary winter months were not...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 25, 1994

Crossword Puzzles

The long, dreary winter months were not so dreary after all for those of us who could find solace in trying to solve The Sun's crossword puzzles, preferably before a warm fireplace or cozily propped up in bed.

The solving of those puzzles involves -- of course -- many aspects of one's varied fields of expertise acquired not so much from formal and long-past schooling and continued reading but is largely possible due to age and experience.

An old gaucho saying states: "The devil knows more because he is old than because he is a devil."

Brought into play is the wrestling with ideas and notions and concepts of geography (port of the Red Sea: Aden; dry desert in Asia: Gobi; capital of Bolivia: La Paz), history (XIIIth century invaders: Tatars), entomology (bluebottle, cicada), fictional characters (80-day traveler: Fogg), theater (Shakespearean quotes and actors/actresses past and present), baseball lore (RBIs), vocabulary or corpus testing (educe, esnes, mesne, divot, elan) and also -- and here is the fun -- the ability to cope with cunning charade/captious/pun type questions such as: Dublin hen (Irish setter), handyman and beekeepers' cocktails (screwdriver and stinger, respectively), polite MIT grads (civil engineers), kissing (lip service), baby food business (growth industry), etc.

It is also helpful to mind linguistic laws to determine whether the solution required is a noun, verb or adjective which out of context cannot be distinguished: beam, welcome, act, to name a few.

At times the very nature of the puzzle or the desire of the author to test the mettle of the solver calls for very low frequency words: nide (pheasant brood or nest), onager (Asian donkey), iter (Roman canal or right of way).

Fortunately in the world of crucigrams, everyday accepted risque expressions have -- as yet -- not entered: "breasts" is a solution to the question "chicken parts" and not to the female anatomy!

A word of caution to beginners: never try to tackle the Times of London crucigram if tired and out of sorts.

It takes a considerable amount of cogitation, mentation, ratiocination, musing and lucubration.

Frederick G. van der Wens

Cockeysville

The writer is an adjunct language instructor at Essex Community College.

Canada's Care

Dr. Darius Rastegar in his letter of April 12 mentioned the Canadian national health program as one the U.S. should adopt.

If he had taken the time to learn the facts about that system, I doubt he would approve of it. In fact, the Canadian plan is no better than those of England, France and Germany. It is known that the waiting lists for diagnostic tests and surgery are nonexistent in this country, as compared to Canada. A few examples:

In Newfoundland (population 570,000) there was a two-month wait for CAT scans in 1992.

In 1988, women waited several months for Pap smears and two months for mammograms. The wait for bone scans was one or more months, and for myelograms was three or four months.

The number of Canadians waiting for surgery was estimated to be 177,297 in 1992.

British Columbia (population 3 million) has fewer than one-half as many CAT scanners as Seattle does with a population of only 490,000 people.

As for MRI machines, Washington state (population 4.6 million) has more than all of Canada (population 26 million).

Moreover, in a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, nearly one-third of Canada's doctors sent patients outside the country for treatment during the last five years.

When former Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa needed treatment for a potentially fatal skin cancer, he went to the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda at his own expense. Where will U.S. citizens go for treatment when our health care system, which is the envy of the world, is trashed by the Clinton plan?

Space does not permit more examples of the abysmal situations the Canadian government-run system has created; there are hundreds I could cite.

However, suffice it to say that Canada's health care system is increasingly plagued with the same problems that have become the hallmarks of socialized medicine wherever it has been implemented.

To quote Canadian Michael Walker, "[When] Americans say they would prefer the Canadian system, their statement is based on little knowledge of how Canada's health care system actually works or the service level toward which it is heading."

He goes on to say that the Canadian system cannot be introduced in the U.S. without reducing the best health care system (and availability) in the world.

To Dr. Rastegar and others who think government can run health care as efficiently and with less cost than the private sector, I say, "Learn from the failures of the European systems." The best thing government could do for health care is to get out of it.

Peggy Knight

Towson

State Parks

It was with profound disappointment that I read The Sun's editorial regarding corporate support for Maryland's state parks and forests.

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