The London Evening News recently printed chess problem No. 4,632, contributed by V. Nabokov, and advised readers that the gentleman would be making a similar contribution to the Sun-clay Times later this month. The editor of both chess columns confirmed that V. Nabokov was indeed the author of Lolita. "I knew he was interested in chess," says C. H. O'D Alexander, "because his novel The Defense is about a chess master, but the two things are quite different. The problem is an art form, and the game's a struggle." Nabokov himself says his hobby—or "solace," as he calls it—is nothing new. "I have been composing them all the time but not always publishing them. I did publish some in Russian emigrant papers in London and Berlin during the '20s and the '30s—then I found myself busy with more absorbing pastimes, like writing novels. I compose in the bathroom, which is an excellent place for working out chess problems, but I find that too much of this keeps me awake, so I think I had better reduce the activity a little bit."
"I'll probably get in trouble, but I don't think Penn State is No. 1," said Astronaut Pete Conrad, addressing a distinctly partisan crowd in front of the Pennsylvania state capitol in Harrisburg. In an effort to soften the blow he added, "but all you folks out there are No. 1 in spirit." The folks booed.
Senator Muskie went ice fishing in his home state recently, by snowmobile, with his son Steve, a friend and two guides. They took a few pickerel and a breakfast's worth of perch, and by the end of the day the Senator had been visited by scores of ice fishermen and snowmobilers, one batch of well-wishers landing a plane on the ice and another arriving by horse-drawn sleigh—about the only old-fashioned note. Instead of hacking his own holes in the ice with a chisel, Muskie had them drilled for him with power augers. He fished from a carpeted ice shack and at one point was considerably startled to hear a line a guide had set begin buzzing—it had been electrified to sound when a fish struck. "Don't tell me," said Muskie, who is responsible for most of the country's antipollution legislation, "that the ice fishermen are going to noise-pollute the Maine environment!"
"Apart from war," says the Duke of Beaufort in a forthcoming edition of the British magazine Queen, "hunting is the only thing that draws the country together." Oh, quite. The country that slays together stays together.
Dottie Haughton, wife of Billy Haughton, the leading harness driver of all time, is a pro football nut. Billy couldn't care less, but Dottie is such a Packer fan that she subscribes to the Green Bay Press Gazette and reads it the way other women read Photoplay. When the Super Bowl loomed Dottie was determined to be there. She talked Billy into flying from their Pompano Beach, Fla. home to New Orleans, where they arrived some 21 hours before kickoff. "I went straight to bed," says Dottie. "I wanted to be fresh and rested for the game." She was fresh and rested enough when she woke at 6:30 a.m. Sunday, but it was pouring out and the radio predicted not only an 80% chance of rain for the game, but the possibility of a tornado. Dottie panicked. She didn't want to sit in the rain, much less a tornado, and New Orleans, of course, was blacked out. Did Dottie Haughton miss the Super Bowl? No way! She hauled Billy out of bed, took a cab to the airport, flew back to Miami on an 8:20 plane, drove the 35 miles home and switched on her TV set. "I was a little peeved," she said afterward, "when I saw that it didn't rain on the game." Well, at least the Packers weren't playing.
On the theory, perhaps, that two skis are plenty for two skiers, Brigitte Bardot hopped aboard those of Patrick Gilles for a ponderous downhill run in Maribel, France the other day. For over a year now Brigitte has been going about with the 26-year-old graduate student at the Paris Institute of Political Science and the School of Oriental Studies—she met him in Cannes, and his father, it is reported, subsequently disowned him. Brigitte was also seen sledding at Avoriaz with Henri Charri�re, whose autobiography Papillon is the rage in France, 850,000 copies having been sold since last May. Now 64, Charri�re was accused of murder and sent to the penal colony in French Guiana 40 years ago. He escaped to a leper colony, sailed to Maracaibo and lived among the Indians, was recaptured and shipped back to Devil's Island, whence he escaped again on his eighth try, etc., etc. It seems unlikely that his papa would have disowned him for a friendship with B.B.