Good Luck, Mr. Gorsky
"Midrash" by George Barany (August 2012)
This puzzle was constructed on the same day (August 25, 2012) that we learned the sad news of the passing of a true hero, astronaut Neil Alden Armstrong—the first man to walk on the moon. My family did not own a TV when I was growing up, but I will never forget how on a late night in mid-July 1969 we all huddled in front of a borrowed black and white portable set to watch history unfold. A quarter of a century later, an urban legend that modernized a classic Jewish joke made the rounds in cyberspace, as has been explained as well as thoroughly debunked on this snopes.com site. An ironic aspect of this hoax is the fact that a gullible subset of the American population clings to the fantasy that the moon landing itself was staged. Charmingly, the Gorsky story was the basis of a short film that at least one friend of mine has seen. Finally, Neil Armstrong's feat is indelibly linked to the first career home run of Hall-of-Fame pitcher (and notoriously weak batter) Gaylord Perry, as again summarized on the snopes.com site.
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