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Original Issue


Something new has been added to la vie en roads, as played by Renaults and Citroëns in Paris. Robert Dussard, director of the Road and Highway System there, has been experimenting with a new kind of traffic signal, a sort of digital clock that looks like the timers used for ticking off the seconds in basketball and hockey. The clock will tell Parisian pedestrians how many seconds they have to make it from curb to curb. Now all they need is a tote board to handicap their chances.

Who should turn up in the cast of Nutcracker Suite at Toronto's O'Keefe Centre for a one-night guest appearance but the NHL's Jacques Plante, dressed like a wooden soldier, high-topped boots, striped pants and all. Goaltender Plante played a stretcher bearer, which might be an omen for the Maple Leafs—but probably isn't.

When-The-Puck-Comes-Over-The-Blue-Line Dept. Everybody seems to have a good-luck thing going with the national anthem these days. A couple of years ago the Los Angeles Rams claimed they rarely lost when TV star Jim Nabors sang it before their games. This season the Louisville basketball players said they preferred to remain in the dressing room during the anthem because that brought them luck. Now the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team has decided that its talisman is Kate Smith and her rendition of God Bless America. Whenever it is played before games, instead of The Star-Spangled Banner, the Flyers do well. Somebody figured it up last week and discovered the team's record on God Bless America nights for the last three years was 18-1-1, considerably better than its 58-92-49 overal record. In fact, after one game recently a few of the players showed their gratitude in the dressing room by singing a lusty chorus of something called "God Bless Miss Smith."

The coolest expedition of the year promises to be a seven-man trip by snowmobile from central Minnesota to Moscow—the one in Russia. Organizer of the snowmobile jaunt is Bill Cooper, who owns and runs the Squirrel Cage tavern at Willow River, Minn. and plans to drive, or plow, through Canada, across Greenland, take a boat to Norway, and then on to the Russian capital. Cooper has been after the Soviet Union to grant permission for snowmobiles and crew to return home by way of Siberia, but so far visas have been denied. Maybe the Russians don't trust someone just out of a Squirrel Cage.

Rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a tub—not to mention an attractive young lady named Helen Stewart, out for a row with husband Jackie Stewart, the race driver, and their two sons, Paul and Mark. The scene was the International Boat Show in London, where Jackie's family managed to make it across the indoor lagoon without wiping out a single hay bale.

Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, in New York for a reading at Madison Square Garden, stopped off at The Dick Cavett Show on ABC last week to give his evaluation of some modern art forms. Movies are great, said Yevtushenko, but TV is strictly for suckers. "Good only for suckers, hey?" Cavett asked. "Yes," said the poet, in what he termed his "childish" English. "It is justified only by suckers." At which point Cavett and his audience finally made the connection. What Yevtushenko thinks TV is good for, it develops, is watching the game where you kick a round ball up and down a field and try to get it into nets at either end. You know: sucker football.

While the eyes of Texas were focussed on this month's sporting extravaganzas, the fingers of thieves were busy elsewhere. Houston businessman Ken Schnitzer and his teammate in the Bing Crosby Pro-Am tournament, Doug Sanders, returned to their adjoining hotel rooms to find about $9,000 in valuables missing. The same weekend, thieves broke into Dallas Cowboy President Tex Schramm's home while he was in New Orleans at the Super Bowl. They made off with cash, a color TV set and a 1971 auto. But Schramm went home with the championship, and that's something no one can steal...for at least a year.

Finger to finger with the likes of Joseph Stalin, Frederick the Great and Abraham Lincoln will be chess master Bobby Fischer, whose autographed scorecards from matches in Argentina and Germany will be sold to the highest bidder next month at the Charles Hamilton Galleries Inc. in New York. The scorecards are valued at about $45 each by Hamilton's auctioneers. The scribbles of Stalin and Lincoln are worth considerably more, but Fischer beats out Frederick the Great by $20.

Forty-five years ago, before most Women Libbers had even been born, Jane DeSerisy became the first woman varsity sports editor for the University of Cincinnati student newspaper and later married a then-prominent basketball and baseball player named Daniel Earley. Last week, still going her quiet, liberated way, Mrs. Earley was named chairman of the board of directors at the university, proving that even sports editors can overcome chauvinism.