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VOL. 127 | NO. 135 | Thursday, July 12, 2012

Vic Fleming

‘Lost’ Crosswords: Part 3

By Vic Fleming

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Dear J.V., “A couple weeks ago, you wrote that Locke’s Gilgamesh puzzle – in season 2 of “Lost” – was the “last” puzzle, in point of time, featured by the series. I take issue with that. In the season 6 episode, Ben Linus’ father is shown working a Sunday paper crossword – this, in the thread that assumes the H-bomb, detonated by Juliet, wiped out the island. The Linuses’ island involvement is thus cut short, as the Dharma Initiative people were evacuated. Were you planning to discuss this last crossword? I went back to the episode and cannot tell what newspaper it is. /s/ C.M.”

Dear C.M.: Thanks for the note. And for writing part of this column. I was planning to discuss two more “Lost” crosswords – the one you mention and one other. For whatever reason, I assumed both to be happening earlier than the day Locke would have been on duty at the Hatch, several weeks after the plane crash.

In addition to the puzzling scene you noted, in the final episode of the series, Sawyer, aka detective James Ford, answers the phone at the precinct with a newspaper clearly folded to puzzle-solving position in one hand and a pen in the other. OK, I suppose it could have been a Sudoku.

Both of these scenes indeed are in that thread that assumes there was no plane crash. But of course there was a plane crash, in the fall of 2004, two years before the show began to air. But for that crash, the group of survivors would not have encountered, among others, Ben Linus, who’d been on the island since his early childhood.

And the survivors, plus Juliet (not really a survivor because she was not in the plane crash), would not have wound up traveling back to 1954, where they learned of the bomb, and then forward to the 1970s, where they decided that, by detonating the bomb, they would save themselves from ever being on the island by preventing the plane crash. See, the island being decimated, it would not have this cataclysmic energy event, giving it a condition by which someone would have to push a button every 108 minutes, presumably to “save the world.”

Desmond Hume, therefore, would not be on button-pushing duty in 2004 and fail to press the button in a timely manner, causing an energy eruption that brought Oceanic Flight 815 down from the sky. The plane does not crash if the bomb explodes. But the bomb explodes only if the plane does crash. If your head hurts from the mental gymnastics, consider yourself normal (and be glad you’re not writing this schlock).

I’ve got Locke working the Gilgamesh puzzle in late 2004. I sense the Ben’s dad scene to be – oh, heck! I don’t have a clue when it is! C.M. is right! I looked at every Sunday puzzle for nine months before this episode aired, comparing each to the best photo I was able to take of this puzzle. And I came up with zero!

So … let’s move on to another topic, shall we?

Vic Fleming is a district court judge in Little Rock, Ark., where he also teaches at the William H. Bowen School of Law. Contact him at vicfleming@att.net.

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