Sunday, August 26, 2012

More Publicity, Pseudonyms, and Another Funny Mistake

More good news:  The Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project has received some additional publicity!  Deb Amlen recently blogged about the project on Wordplay—you can read her wonderful piece here!  It provides a great summary of the project.

In addition, while continuing to match Margaret Farrar daily puzzle authors with their puzzles, I've come across several names I suspect are fake:  Hume R. Craft (6/16/1959, 8/13/1959, etc.), Anna Gram  (7/25/62), and Mary Land (8/24/59).  Hume R. Craft is probably a pun on "humor craft," though I'm not sure.  However, I do know for certain that Anna Gram was one of Margaret Farrar's pseudonyms.  In fact, she even confirmed my suspicions in her introduction to Eugene T. Maleska's Across and Down!  Mary Land could have been another Margaret Farrar pseudonym, though I haven't found anything to back me up on this one.  In addition to these three names, I also know that Charles Cross wasn't a real person—several books mention that Margaret used this pseudonym when she published two puzzles by the same constructor very close together.  Finally, another one of my crossword books mentions that Sam Lake was an anagrammatic alias of Eugene T. Maleska.  That's all I know or have deduced about pre-Shortzian pseudonyms at the moment—if anyone finds support that Hume R. Craft and/or Mary Land were real people or knows of any other pre-Shortzian pseudonyms not included in this list, please comment!

While continuing to proofread, we discovered another funny error:  A clue for BEGUMS was supposed to read "Widows of agas" but had accidentally been typed as "Windows of agas"!

Today's featured puzzle, "Wondrous Maze," was constructed by Timothy S. Lewis.  It originally appeared on June 2, 1991, and was litzed by Barry Haldiman (or one of his former litzers).  This puzzle  has a very unusual stepquote theme.  The first stepquote, consisting of 6-Across, 11-Down, and 146-Across, reads "MINE IS A LONG AND SAD TALE," SAID THE MOUSE.  The second stepquote, consisting of 49-Down, 112-Across, 79-Down, 79-Across, 44-Down, 44-Across, and 45-Down, reads "IT IS A LONG TAIL CERTAINLY," SAID ALICE, "BUT WHY DO YOU CALL IT SAD?".  The stepquotes are both symmetrically placed in the grid and intersect each other in the center, which is very elegant and impressive.  On top of all of this, the puzzle contains the four bonus theme entries RABBIT HOLE, WONDERLAND, ALICE LIDDELL, and LEWIS CARROLL!  Finally, the nonthematic fill is very clean (especially considering the complexity of the theme).  I especially like the entries TOMBOY, PALAVER, and the awesome-sounding DIRNDL!  The answer grid (with highlighted theme entries) can be seen below; the complete puzzle can be seen here on XWord Info.

Today's featured pre-Shortzian entry is INFUNDIBULIFORM.  Not surprisingly, according to the Ginsberg database, INFUNDIBULIFORM has never been reused in a Shortzian puzzle.  INFUNDIBULIFORM originally appeared in the March 19, 1988, puzzle by Nancy Joline, which was recently litzed by Nancy Kavanaugh.  The original clue for INFUNDIBULIFORM was "Funnel-shaped."  Webster defines infundibuliform as "having the form of a funnel or cone."  Below is a picture of the infundibuliform Coneheads:

Image courtesy of IMDb.


  1. Mary Land was a pseudonym of Bill Lutwiniak, who lived in Maryland. Bill also used Mary Landers and Jeanne Newland (his wife's maiden name). I seem to recall that Hume Craft was a real person, but Will might know.

    I recall a number of noms of old-timers. Jack Luzzatto used J.L. Wilkinson (he lived on Wilkinson Av in the Bronx), Herb Risteen used Herbert Lyle (Lyle was his middle name) and H.R. Baraboo (he was from Baraboo, WI).

    Will should be able to help with noms also.


  2. @ Stan Newman: Thanks so much—this is great to know! I never would've guessed that Herbert Lyle and J.L. Wilkinson were pseudonyms (though Baraboo raised my suspicions!)!

  3. I've seen a few puzzles attributed to M F Tauber that I think are by Mel Taub. I believe Will concurred, saying it was probably Ms. Farrar who created that nom de plume.

  4. @ Todd G: Very interesting—thanks so much, though I haven't encountered an M. F. Tauber in the PDFs and books I've looked at yet. But that doesn't mean there aren't any!