Onion Crossword Puzzle

Posted in personal at 5:07 pm by danvk

I’ve become a big fan of The Onion’s crossword puzzle recently. Here’s a few reasons to love it:

  • It’s free. Unlike some other papers.
  • It’s convenient: there’s an Onion distribution box within 100 feet of my apartment.
  • It’s online (w/ answers!). Here’s a link to the June 17 puzzle.

Now some spoilers… don’t read these if you plan on doing that puzzle I linked to!

  • I rarely learn new words from a crossword puzzle. If an answer looks strange, it’s more likely to be because I’m not parsing it right than because it’s a word I don’t know. But the last two weeks, we’ve had:
  • The cultural references are more up-to-date. Unlike the NYT puzzle, I have a chance with these. Case in point, last week’s 23 Across, “Trent Reznor’s band, for short”: NIN.
  • It’s more irreverent than the Times. Take this week’s 7 Across, “Not worth doing?”: BADINBED. It took me a long time to get since an answer like that would never be in the NYT. I thought the joke might be “worth” referring to “net worth”. I’m glad I was wrong!
  • The themes are hilarious. This week’s was inventors killed by their inventions:
    • 17A: Invention by tailor Franz Reichelt in which he fell to his death (as seen on YouTube)
    • 24A: Invention by Otto Lilienthal in which he crashed to his death
    • 27A: Invention modernized by William Bullock that mangled his leg and led to his death
    • 50A: With 50-Across, invention of bedridden engineer Thomas Midgely, Jr. that strangled him to death
    • 62A: Procedure improved by physician Alexander Bogdanov that left him dead of TB and malaria

    The fun is that, as you fill in the answers, you have to think of bizarre inventions that could kill a man.


Draggable Table Columns

Posted in programming, web at 12:41 am by danvk

Inspired by the sorttable library, I’ve done some Javascript hacking over the last day and created dragtable, a complementary library which lets you drag column headers around to rearrange HTML tables. A demo will make everything clear:

Name Date Favorite Color
Dan 1984-07-12 Blue
Alice 1980-07-22 Green
Ryan 1990-09-23 Orange
Bob 1966-04-21 Red

Drag the column headers to rearrange the table. dragtable is incredibly easy to use. To make a table rearrangeable, just add class=draggable to the table tag. And, if you set class="draggable sortable", you can have a table that’s simultaneously sortable and rearrangable! For more details and a download link, check out the dragtable page.

I’m calling this v0.9 since I’m sure there are plenty of bugs and tweaks left to make. I’d love to get some feedback, so take it for a spin and tell me what you think!

Update: I’ve added full-column dragging and bumped the version to 1.0. Head on over to the dragtable, grab a copy, and let me know what you think!