"Christians And The Internet" newsletter
CATI, Vol. 3, No. 9:  March 1, 2002



The latest revision of this issue of "CATI" can be accessed
online at http://traver.org/cati/archives/cati72.htm.  The
Web page edition makes it especially easy to visit the links.

Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is
Copyright (C) 2002 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved.  See
the end of this issue for more information on "CATI."


Well, it arrived two weeks later than expected, but my new
computer (a Gateway 700 XL, PC Magazine's Editor's Choice)
finally arrived!  Two days after that, cable Internet access
(RoadRunner) was installed.  I am amazed by the power of both,
but they should help me get caught up with several projects I
have going on that are related to computers and the Internet.

"Computers And The Internet...."  Hey!  That would make a
great title for a newsletter.  And I could call my newsletter
"CATI" for short (pronounced like "KATY," but spelled with a
"C" and an "I" for "Computers" and the "Internet").  What's
that?  You say that someone is already using the CATI acronym
for a newsletter?  On well, I knew it was too good an idea for
it not to have already been used.

Actually, this is that newsletter.  And it does, indeed, deal
with "Computers And The Internet," but the "C" in "CATI" does
not stand for "Computers."  Rather, the "C" in "CATI" stands
for "Christians," since this is a free email newsletter that
is specifically devoted to "Christians And The Internet."

You do not have to be a Christian, however, to be placed on
the mailing list.  Others are equally welcome to sign up to
receive CATI, and I hope that everyone will find something
here that is interesting, useful, or enjoyable.  (And, if you
do not presently consider yourself to be a Christian, you may
find that through CATI you are becoming more knowledgeable
about the Christian faith as an added bonus.)

Anyway, getting back to the new computer and the new Internet
service, I do a lot of work on the Internet (in addition to
gathering material for CATI, I'm involved with four different
Web sites), and much of the time has been spent on waiting for
information to "arrive" (e.g., for Web pages to load).  That's
no longer the case!

How much of a difference is there between then and now?  Well,
even though I had a 56K modem, my maximum Internet speed was
28.8K bps.  The "bps" refers to "bits per second."  It refers
to the rate at which you're receiving information (which is
sort of like "mph" or "miles per hour").  The "K" represents
roughly 1,000 (like the "kilo" in "kilogram," which stands for
1,000 grams).

What this means is that my earlier Internet speed was about
28,800 bps.  By contrast, my present speed with Roadrunner
(Beep! Beep!) is greater than 1,000,000 bps, which is about
35 times as fast!  Thus what earlier would have been a long
download (say, an hour, which would not be that unusual for a
Microsoft servicepack) can now be done in a couple of minutes
(and, perhaps more to the point, Web pages now show up on the
screen instantaneously).

Even though the new computer and new Internet access should
make it much easier for me to get more done quickly, please
be assured that I will not forget that many readers may have
slower computers or that a week ago my own top speed on the
Internet was 28.8K bps.  (Want proof of that commitment?  The
issue before this one reviewed OffByOne, a Web browser that is
ideal for those who have more limited hardware or who have
older operating systems.)

The late Dr. Cornelius Van Til, whom I was privileged to have
as a teacher while I was a student at Westminster Theological
Seminary, intended his classes to be for both "bunnies" and
"giraffes."  I have the same goal for CATI, and I trust that
this newsletter will minister to both in the time to come.

     --Barry Traver, Editor of CATI


In previous issues you've been introduced to the Inklings, a
group of British writers who met in C.S. Lewis's rooms from
the mid-1930's through the end of the 1940's to read their
"works in progress" to one another and to discuss them.  The
authors included J.R.R. Tolkien (author of The Hobbit and The
Lord of the Rings), C.S. Lewis (author of Mere Christianity,
Miracles, The Screwtape Letters, and the space trilogy made up
of Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous
Strength), Charles Williams (author of "theological thrillers"
like All Hallows' Eve and War in Heaven), and more.

Do you have an "inkling" of an idea as to just why they called
themselves the Inklings?  Well, according to J.R.R. Tolkien,
the word "Inklings" was "a pleasantly ingenious pun in its way,
suggesting people with vague or half-formed intimations and
ideas plus those who dabble in ink."

Books read at Thursday gatherings of the group included The
Lord of the Rings (called "The New Hobbit" at the time), The
Screwtape Letters, The Problem of Pain, All Hallows' Eve, and
much more.  Some of the Inklings also met at the pub The Eagle
and the Child (called by them "The Bird and the Baby") for yet
more discussions.

But why haven't I yet mentioned Dorothy Sayers?  Wasn't she an
Inkling as well?  Well, actually she was not!  The Inklings
were a group of men, and even Dorothy Sayers -- who personally
was friends with a number of the Inklings (she was the one who
suggested to Lewis that he write a book on Miracles) -- was
unable to gain admittance.  (She was one of the first women
to graduate from Oxford University -- like Lewis and Tolkien,
she had an interest in medieval literature -- but because of
her sex, she was excluded from all-male groups in which she
otherwise would have fit very well.)

I doubt that she minded that much, because -- along with G.K.
Chesterton and others -- she had already founded the Detection
Club, a group of mystery writers.  In addition to his writing
popular Christian theology (such as his book Orthodoxy, which
is sort of a Roman Catholic counterpart to C.S. Lewis's Mere
Christianity), G.K. Chesterton wrote mystery stories featuring
the unlikely detective Father Brown.  (If you do read the
stories, make sure that you don't miss out on reading "The
Vampire of the Village."  It's sometimes hard to track down,
but it may be the best in the series, at least looking at it
in a Christian context.)

Dorothy L. Sayers herself wrote mystery stories in the 1920's
and 1930's.  Her books also featured an unlikely detective:
Lord Peter Wimsey.  (Yes, many of them have been filmed and
have been broadcast on Mystery on PBS.)  In 1928 she edited
Great Stories of Detection, Mystery and Crime (known in the
United States as The Omnibus of Crime), a very influential
anthology of mystery fiction (partly because of the included
essay by herself on the subject).

By the 1940's she had moved on from mystery fiction to more
serious things, such as theological drama (including the
play cycle The Man Born to Be King, about which C.S. Lewis
said that he had "re-read it every Holy Week since it first
appeared, and never re-read it without being deeply moved"),
essays (such as those collected in Are Women Human? or Creed
or Chaos and Other Essays in Popular Theology), books (such
as The Mind of the Maker), and translations (such as a widely
praised translation in terza rima of Dante's Divine Comedy,
which our son John Calvin found interesting enough that while
still in junior high he read the volume on The Inferno).

She also wrote an essay on "The Lost Tools of Learning," an
influential essay which you can find at this address:

Dorothy Sayers, "The Lost Tools of Learning"
"The Lost Tools of Learning" was first presented by Miss
Sayers at Oxford in 1947. It is copyrighted by National
Review, 150 East 35th Street, New York, NY 10016, and
reproduced here with their permission."

It is "influential" upon the "classical Christian school" in
our day.  For example, see Douglas Wilson, Recovering the
Lost Tools of Learning (Crossway Books, 1991), which includes
the Sayers essay in an appendix.  (My wife, Dr. Sharon Traver,
is currently teaching at The American Academy in Bryn Mawr,
Pennsylvania, a school in that admirable tradition of emphasis
upon the teaching of the classics and even Latin as a language
from the early grades on up!)

Even though Dorothy Sayers has had an influence on Protestant
evangelical and Reformed Christian schools, she herself was
not Reformed or a Protestant evangelical, but rather an
Anglo-Catholic (like C.S. Lewis, about whom more will be said
in a future issue of CATI).  Her commitment to that religious
perspective could be part of the reason for her translation of
Dante's Divine Comedy (and for her essay "'...And Telling you
a Story": a Note on the Divine Comedy," which she contributed
to Essays Presented to Charles Williams at the request of that
book's editor, C.S. Lewis).  Like the "official" Inklings, she
should be read with discernment, but is (I believe) well worth

As in the case of Charles Williams, however, there is not as
much material on the Internet about Dorothy Sayers as there
is about J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.  Nevertheless, here
are some sites that may be worth checking out:


Dorothy L(eigh) Sayers
"Dorothy Sayers was born in Oxford as the daughter of the Rev.
Henry Sayers.... She was very gifted from the early age in
languages, learning Latin by the age of seven.... A devout
Anglo-Catholic, Sayers was for many years a friend of the
Oxford writers known as the Inklings. In THE MIND OF THE MAKER
Sayers tried to explain the Trinitarian nature of God, the
Divine Creator, by analogy with the three-fold activity of the
creative artist - involving idea, energy, and power."

Dorothy L. Sayers: A Christian Humanist for Today

Dorothy L. Sayers, Writer and Theologian

The Dorothy L. Sayers Society


Is there anyone who hasn't at some time enjoyed sitting down
to do a crossword puzzle?  There is something attractive about
an activity where you create order out of disorder or you make
something from nothing (that is, nothing except for the puzzle

This is true of different kinds of puzzles, including jigsaw
puzzles, sliding-tile puzzles, and that favorite American
pastime of crossword puzzles.  (I combine all three in a
software program I've been working on which I call the Traver
PuzzleBox, but I hope to tell you more about that in the next
issue of CATI.)  In general, puzzle-solving is a wholesome
way to have fun.  (Puzzle-making is another.)

In her book The Crossword Obsession: The History and Lore of
the World's Most Popular Pastime (Berkley Books, 2001), page
3, Coral Amende has this to say:

"Human beings have a passion for puzzles: we love giving our
mental musculature vigorous workouts with perplexing posers
and scintillating stumpers--particularly those with a goodly
dose of wicked wit. From ancient ages to modern times, the
solving of cranium-straining conundrums has been one of
the ways in which we have created harmony out of chaos and
brought some small semblance of order, however transitory or
illusional, to our lives. This edifying exercise sharpens our
cerebral acuity and develops critical logical-thinking skills,
as well as being enormously entertaining, and there is great
satisfaction--that gratifying "Aha!" feeling--to be had in
parsing a pattern or getting a grip on a puzzlemaker's sly
trick. Solving (and, to an even greater degree, constructing)
puzzles also allows us to use the knowledge we've collected
and enhances that knowledge in a fun way...."
  --Coral Amende, The Crossword Obsession, p. 2.

For a Christian, such an activity is especially appropriate,
for our "God is not a God of disorder but of peace" (1 Cor.
14:33).  Whether it be a jigsaw puzzle put together to show
a beautiful landscape or a crossword puzzle entirely filled
in with the appropriate answers, we feel a satisfaction when
we finish our creative or constructive work and - after we
complete our work and look upon the result - declare that it
was good (see Gen. 1).

Even though the crossword puzzle as we know it first came into
existence as late as 1913, its ancestors go back to Bible

"The ancestors of the crossword puzzle include word squares
and acrostics, both of which date from days long bygone. As
far back as the sixth century B.C., puzzle-loving Greeks were
inscribing word squares into statues and other artistic
endeavors.... Ye olde Romans were proficient practitioners of
the acrostic....  Acrostics can also be spotted in the Bible,
where you'll find psalms with twenty-two lines, each beginning
with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet, in order."
  --Coral Amende, The Crossword Obsession, p. 2.

Here are examples of Biblical acrostics (although some of the
passages may bend the rules a bit):  Psalms 9-10, 25, 34, 37,
111 (note each half-line), 112 (again, note each half-line),
119 (the best example), 145, Proverbs 31:10-31 ("a virtuous
woman," a fine example), and Lamentations 1, 2, 3, 4.  The
New Testament contains no acrostics, but the early church did
use the fish as a symbol for Christ, since the Greek word for
fish -- ichthus -- is an acrostic (in the Greek) for Jesus,
God's Son, Savior.

The ROTAS/SATOR word square (whose origin and meaning remain
under dispute) apparently goes back to the first century A.D.
Here's the entire square (note the symmetrical arrangement of
the letters):

     R O T A S
     O P E R A
     T E N E T
     A R E P O
     S A T O R

Here's one translation:  "Arepo the sower guides the wheels
with care."  (It doesn't make a whole lot of sense, does it?)

One Web page about the ROTAS/SATOR word square makes this very
interesting suggestion:

"The letters of the square can be re-arranged in form of a
cross. The word 'PATERNOSTER' (Our father) can be formed twice
with the letter A and O at either end.... The letters A and O
represent the first and the last letter of the greek alphabet,
Alpha and Omega. Alpha and Omega stand for 'beginning' and
'end', as in 'I am the Alpha and the Omega'."

The rearrangement is clever, but I doubt that it really means
anything, in spite of the fact that the Manchester Museum
itself (where the Manchester Word Square can be found) seems
to endorse this speculation:

"The Manchester Word-square. Inscribed on a fragment of late
second-century pottery is part of a word-square of Christian
significance which reads in full: ROTAS OPERA TENET AREPO
SATOR. These words may be read in any direction: in themselves
they are not very significant ('Arepo the sower guides the
wheels with care') but the letters can be re-arranged to read
PATER NOSTER (Our Father) in the form of a cross with the
letters A and O at either end: in Greek these are the first
and last letters of the alphabet, Alpha and Omega, and
stand for 'beginning' and 'end'. the earliest evidence
for Christianity in Britain; and the great physical and
intellectual changes wrought by the peoples of Cyprus, Greece
and Italy."

The About.com Web site has on it a number of excellent places
to start if you want to explore acrostics, word squares, and
crossword puzzles further:


Word Squares: Forerunners to Crossword Puzzles

Crossword Puzzles

In a moment I'll be suggesting some more Web sites relating to
crossword puzzles (including Bible crosswords).  Before I do
that, however, let's think a bit about words in general and
then crosswords in particular.

In the beginning the Word already was (John 1:1).  Francis A.
Schaeffer in a lecture/sermon titled "Before the Beginning"
points out that even before the world existed, communication
was in existence between God the Father, God the Son, and God
the Holy Spirit.  Making man in His likeness, God made man
also able to communicate.

It is because of God, then, that we have language and words
(including the written Word of God).  Likewise crossword
puzzles can exist only because God exists.  In Christ, God
was reconciling the world to Himself (2 Cor. 5:19).  It may
be trivial in comparison, but we see some peace-making going
on in crossword puzzles.  Words that could be (and often are)
at cross-purposes with one another are made to dwell together
in harmony (at least within the confines of the crossword
grid).  They "fit together" in a way in which the world does
not yet "fit together," so in their own way, such puzzles can
be taken as suggestive of the time coming when God will make
the world no longer broken or disorderly, but restored and
whole (cf. Rom. 8).

So even in our recreational activity of puzzle-solving, we are
re-creating order and peace, wholeness and harmony.  Thus our
"pastime time" is "of a piece" with our calling to be seeking
peace between men and men, and between men and God.  (Please
take that "men" as non-gender specific.  I intend women to be
included as well.)  God is great at taking broken lives and
putting the pieces together in a wholesome way.  In at least a
limited way, our choice in recreational activity can mirror
our own desire to see the creation put together again in a
restored state.

Well, that's my theological justification for doing crossword
puzzles rather than getting involved with other leisure-time
activities, but I'm not sure such a justification is really
necessary.  It may be sufficient simply to note that God
"richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment" (2 Tim.
6:17), provided that such things are not out of harmony with
the Word of God.

I expect to be returning to the topic of crossword puzzles in
the near future, but for now let me suggest some rewarding
sites for those who like crossword puzzles:


Bible Crossword Fun (Gospel Communications International)
This series is now discontinued (you will find no new "Puzzle
of the Month" here), but fifty-eight "Previous Puzzles" are
still available, all taken from Challenging Bible Crosswords
or Classic Bible Crosswords composed by Diane Brummel Bloem
and published by Zondervan.  To solve them, you will have to
print them out; there is no provision for your working on them
online as on most other crossword puzzle sites.

Bible Crossword Puzzles
This site contains crossword puzzles (based mainly on the
King James Version) in "STANDARD FORMAT which consists of a
GIF image and a text file which can be printed out or saved
to your hard-drive" or "ACROSS LITE FORMAT [which] offers an
entire puzzle solving environment with many options."  The
latter "requires downloading the puzzle software which is
absolutely FREE and Highly recommended," and the Across Lite
format (used widely on other crossword puzzle sites) allows
you to work on the puzzle while online (not possible with
standard format puzzles).  Thirty-some puzzles are currently
available (your choice of either format), and more puzzles
are planned for the future.

Online Bible Crossword Puzzles
Here you'll find six puzzles on "People in the Bible" and
seven puzzles on Bible "Themes."

PC-Shareware.com: Bible Crossword Challenge
Bible Crossword Challenge is software being distributed as
shareware or demoware.  You can download an evaluation copy
from their Web page.  The evaluation copy provides five Bible
crossword puzzles.  If you decide to purchase the program (the
cost is $9.95), you get fifty crossword puzzles. The sample
puzzles seem to be based on the King James Version.

St. Martin's Crossword Puzzle Site
Here you'll find crossword puzzles for every chapter of the
New Testament as well as for some chapters of some books of
the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers,
Deuteronomy, Joshua, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, 
Nehemiah, Esther, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Isaiah,
Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Micah, and Nahum), with new 
puzzles planned.  The puzzles are all based on the New
International Version (NIV) and are compiled by Jim Saxton.
They are posted on the Web site of St. Martin's in the
Fields, Finham (part of the Diocese of Coventry in the
Church of England), a very attractively-done Web site
(except for some text/background color combinations) from
which you may perhaps get some good ideas for your own
church Web site.


1st Spot Crossword Puzzle Games
A great list of about a hundred links, a few of which relate
to games, but most of which relate to crossword puzzles, and
the following categories are included:  "Crossword General
Sources," "Cryptic Crossword," "Daily Crossword Puzzle,"
"Weekly Crossword Puzzle," "Monthly Crossword Puzzle," and
"Free Form."

Barely Bad Web Site: A Monograph on Crossword Puzzles
"...the most important thing to keep in mind is that
crosswords are for fun and relaxation, and I hope you don't
take them any more seriously than I do.  In fact, I prefer
the phrase 'playing a puzzle' to 'working a puzzle' because
that's the attitude I think you should have."  Not everyone
will appreciate the writing style of the anonymous author
(a self-described "48-year-old science student") of this
"monograph," but it contains fascinating stuff you aren't
likely to find elsewhere, including a listing of (alleged)
errors in New York Times crossword puzzles with a personal
reply by Will Shortz, editor of the New York Times crossword
puzzle since 1993.  (By the way, if you're curious, it seems
that John Gosnell is the anonymous webmaster of this site.)
Barely Bad Web Site: Crossword Cute Clues
Barely Bad Web Site: Crossword Errors
Barely Bad Web: Will Shortz Responds

Cruciverb.com: Crossword Constructors Community Center
"Cruci" means "cross" (as in "crucifix") and "verb" means
"word" (as in "verbal"), so "cruciverb" means "crossword."
The emphasis here is not on doing crossword puzzles, but on
creating them.  Even if you're not a "crossword constructor,"
you should find interesting and useful information on this

LinaPuzzles.com: Crossword and Other Puzzle
Lots of helpful links to crossword sites.

Literate Software Systems: Across Lite
The Across Lite format is used by the New York Times, the
Washington Post, and other major newspapers, including USA
Today (contrary to what LitSoft's Web site may say -- I did
call their attention to the error, but for some reason it
has not yet been corrected).  My own PuzzleBox program is
able to load in crossword puzzles in Across Lite format
(although LitSoft never replied to my requests for some
information on the format).  On their site you can download
"a complimentary copy of Across Lite (for Windows, Mac, OS/2
and Unix)," a program for solving crossword puzzles online or

Nanana.com: Online Crossword and Other Puzzles
Lots of helpful links to crossword sites.

PC Magazine: CrossGuesser
"If you're looking for that one elusive word that will finish
The New York Times crossword puzzle, or you have six letters
... CrossGuesser [a free software utility from PC Magazine] is
just what you need. This utility checks incomplete crossword
entries (like CH_CK_N) ... against a list of almost 200,000
English words.... You start by entering a word pattern  a
series of letters or wildcards (blanks or asterisks). To find
possible solutions, you ... click the Crosswords button....
The solutions will appear in a list box beneath the word
pattern."  A very useful utility, and it's free!

PC-Shareware: Crossword Challenge
Crossword Challenge is a more general version of their Bible
Crossword Challenge software.  If you decide to purchase it,
the cost is the same ($9.95), but Crossword Challenge comes
with one hundred fifty puzzles rather than the fifty that
come with Bible Crossword Challenge.

Refdesk.com: Crosswords
About a hundred helpful links to crossword-related sites.

Searchnerd.com: Crosswords
Over a hundred helpful crossword-related links.

Thinks.com: Crossword Central
"Thinks.com provides the best source of crossword puzzles
and crossword-related information on the Internet. Daily
crossword puzzles, cryptic crosswords, crossword variants
- plus crossword books and software for crossword enthusiasts
- you will find them all here."  A "Brain Game Web Guide."
Thinks.com: Crosswords, Crosswords, Crosswords
"Whatever type of crossword you prefer, easy or difficult,
US-style or British cryptic, you will find them all here:
your guide to the best crossword sites on the Web."  This
and the preceding Thinks.com Web page are great resources!
Thinks.com: Crossword Software
"If you are a crossword enthusiast you will find here all the
software you need, whether it's for creating crosswords or
helping to solve them."  If you're after crossword software,
this is the best place to find out about it!



Like to know what this is?  This is the seventy-second issue
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Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is
Copyright (C) 2002 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved.