[Time Traveler Evaluation Transcript]
Poppy may click here.
A soft, thin voice issued from the speaker. "Geo. It's evaluation time and I might need some help."
"Of course, Poppy. Where are you, and when are you?"
"I'm in my little apartment in San Francisco, looking out the window. It's 1956. I just came back up after checking my mailbox downstairs. One of the envelopes was unsealed and there was just a note inside."
"No. No names either. The note was penciled on a little strip of paper.
"Torn or cut?"
"Both. Torn, but on top there's a tiny sawtooth cut. And there are a couple smudges like ink. Oh, I know! It's newsprint --a bit of newspaper margin torn from a page!"
"What's it say, Poppy?"
"It says, 'Sidewalk cafe across the street. See me.' All I need to do is find a person there with a newspaper."
"Very good! Now what do you see out your window?"
"Ten people sitting at the cafe, all with newspapers! Oh gosh, there must be some other identifying feature."
"Hold your communicator lens close to the note and e-mail it through the time-router. It'll appear over this transcript. Got it, thanks."
"I think it only got one word, Geo. Is that ok?"
"It's enough, Poppy. Look at the shape of the three letters. See anything unusual?"
"Yes, all upper case and all either shorter on the left or leaning to the right, as if...as if..."
"As if whoever wrote them is accustomed to leaving room for some other notation. Something that always appears at the upper left corner of... "
"A crossword square number! Yes, out the window, one of the ten people with newspapers has a pencil and is working the puzzle page!"
"Go! and tell me what happens. I'll wait."
Ten minutes passed. Poppy resumed transmission: "Geo., I went up to the puzzle lady and handed her the note. She said, 'Bingo!' Then I asked her if I had passed my evaluation and she said it wasn't her call. Whom do I talk with? How do I find out?
"Poppy, there was more to the exercise than tracing the note. It also tested your readiness to use available resources to solve the problem. I'm sure you'll receive a glowing evaluation."
"But she said it wasn't her call."
"So how can you be sure I passed?"
"Because it was my call, Poppy, and my privilege."