The Washington Post newsroom had a surprise birthday celebration for Mr. Downie just moments ago, with a chocolate fountain instead of the usual sheetcake.

Len seemed genuinely surprised. “As a sign of our fondness for Len, we’re eliminating our mandatory age-65 retirement,” joked Don Graham.

Len had some nice words about his newsroom family and noted that next month will mark 44 years for him at the Post.

“Forty-three,” corrected Bob Kaiser (who, of course, had his first summer internship at the Post in 1963, a year before Downie joined him in the intern class of ’64).