During our meeting December 16, 2019, we recognized Stanley Newman as our Featured Rotarian for December 2019. Stan has been Crossword Editor for the Long Island newspaper Newsday since 1988.  He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brooklyn College, and received an M.S. from Rutgers.  Previously a college teacher and Wall Street bond analyst. Stan won the first US Open Crossword Championship in 1982, and started a crossword newsletter soon thereafter.  
 
As our featured Rotarian, Stan revealed a few personal stories we had not previously heard; he did this as he focused on the topic of mental exercise.  Stan mentioned that mental exercise is important to us as a means of maintaining mental acuity as we age. He pointed out that the etymology of the word exercise suggests that it emanates from or is closely related to the term exert leading him to declare that mundane activities are not truly mental exercise, rather it is necessary to press outside the norm, such as tying one's shoes, and exert one's mind by challenging one's thought process.
 
As an example he related an experience he had at a convention in Croatia when the first dinner was served with empty glasses and he was told that drinks (including water) were not included and required an extra charge.  This seemed unacceptable to him so he assessed his situation with "mental exercise" to discover an alternative option without additional expense.  He and a couple of co-conspirators noticed a "free" fruit bar and decided to use a few oranges to squeeze their own orange juice in one of the glasses and gather a few ice cubes (used to keep the fruit cool) in another glass to permit melting for water.  The following evening dinner was served with pitchers of water at each table.
 
Some of the key elements he identified as important to mental exercise include: observing, listening, and applying imagination.  He asserted that it is similar to methods used for initiating conversation in a strange environment with unfamiliar people. To practice mental exercise, or work out, one can pretend in thought to create imaginary situations to practice mental exercise using observation, listening, and imagination.  This type of mental exercise is similar to going to the gym to work out, accomplishing a physical exercise.  Stan provided several other entertaining stories to emphasize and clarify mental exercise methods.  Now we can shape up!
 
Stan began his crossword career after being ''involuntarily retired'' from Wall Street after the 1987 crash, Stan plunged into crosswords full-time, as a puzzle creator, editor, publisher, syndicator, and mail-order bookseller. Today, the Newsday Crossword is syndicated worldwide to over 200 newspapers. As a puzzle creator, Stan's work has appeared regularly in Prevention, People, Sport and Business Week magazines. And he holds the world's record for the fastest completion of a New York Times crossword: 2 minutes, 14 seconds.  For him mental exercise continues to pay! 
 
Great presentation great feature. Thanks for the wisdom and entertainment, Stan!