Nick Scott, a retired educator, is irked about The Blade's new crossword puzzle policy. "I protest vigorously about you not putting in the crossword puzzle answers on the same day as the puzzle, as you have for years. As a retired educator and a senior citizen, I can tell you that the puzzle is one of the better ways of keeping the brain sharp and fighting off Alzheimer's disease."
"But the instant gratification of knowing how one did, takes away from all the other advantages," Mr. Scott complained. The puzzle answers now appear the next day in the same place in the paper.
Kurt Franck, The Blade's managing editor, replied "we made the change because of space reasons. We are simply running out of space, and we don't want to eliminate any more features from The Blade."
Mr. Franck also noted that most, if not all newspapers we know about have an identical crossword policy - they run the answers the next day in the same part of the newspaper the puzzle appeared - not the same day in a different section, as The Blade had been doing.
Personally, your ombudsman is as fond of instant gratification as the next guy - but I am actually happy the puzzle answers were moved. Otherwise, I found myself tempted to cheat.
Incidentally, management was not trying to sneak something by readers with the new crossword puzzle policy; it was announced last Sunday in the Living section. Additionally, there is a contact box in the Peach section every day with phone numbers and e-mail addresses for the Features Department.
Which brings me to something I want to say about my job as Ombudsman. I get a fair number of complaints from people who really have problems with the delivery of their paper; the carrier is late, or the paper is wet, or they didn't resume service when they said they would, etc.
When possible, I do try to help. But that is really not my job, and it is usually not very efficient because I am in Michigan most of the time. If you have a problem, call the customer service center at 419-724-6300. If they fail to resolve it in a timely fashion, however, you are welcome to call me.
The same goes if you wonder why, for example, a standing feature such as Wonderword is not in the paper on a particular day. You might get faster service if you just call the features department and ask.
A reader named Maria was puzzled by our coverage of the Toledo Zoo levy results. "A friend and I were both reading our newspapers at the same time, and we discovered that our Toledo Zoo levy results were different."
Both papers said "final edition," but one had results with only 81 percent of the votes counted; the other had virtually all the numbers in. "Our real confusion is that both of our newspapers said "final edition."
The fact is that all the papers say "final edition," but that there are essentially two final editions; a "regional" one delivered to subscribers further away, in cities such as Monroe, Mich., or Findlay and which has more news of those communities, and another for residents who live close to Toledo.
On Election Night, however, or when other breaking news occurs, the editors frequently update big stories, constantly adding new information even as the presses run. Naturally, everybody has fantasies about shouting "Stop the Presses!" as they did in all the old journalism movies, but this rarely really happens. With modern technology, you don't have to do that to make changes.
Anyone with a concern about fairness or accuracy in The Blade is invited to write me, c/o The Blade; 541 N. Superior St., Toledo, 43660, or at my Detroit office: 189 Manoogian Hall, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202; call me, at 1-888-746-8610 or email me at OMBLADE@aol.com.
I cannot promise to address every question in the newspaper, but I do promise that everyone who contacts me with a serious question will get a personal reply.