Friday, February 6, 2015

1964 Puzzles Done, John Samson Profile and Fred Piscop Commentary in CROSSW RD Magazine, Mary Cee Whitten, and Funny Typos—Plus, Ben Coe First to Solve Blast! Challenge

Project Update

Great news:  The 1964 puzzles are now up on XWord Info, and I'm hoping to have the 1963 puzzles ready by next Friday—many thanks again to Jim Horne for posting them!  It's been a couple of weeks since the last update, and quite a few more puzzles have come in.  On Saturday the 24th, Todd Gross sent 11 puzzles with 15 mistakes.  Then Wednesday afternoon Denny Baker sent another 30 puzzles, which were followed late that night by 28 more from Mark Diehl.  Friday the 30th Todd sent in 8 puzzles with 12 mistakes, then kicked off February on Super Bowl Sunday by sending in 10 with 24 mistakes.  Late Tuesday night he sent an additional 10 with 29 mistakes, then 10 more with 9 mistakes on Wednesday morning, another 10 with 11 mistakes and 5 more with 8 mistakes that night, and early Friday morning an additional 10 with 20 mistakes—whew!  Thanks so much, everyone—great job!

Ben Coe Solves Blast! Challenge

Congratulations to Ben Coe, who sent in the first correct solution to the most recent Blast! challenge on Friday, January 30, at 11:31 a.m.!  Two entries from the May 4, 1963, puzzle had this clue:  "Newly extinct American species?"  The answers were REDCAP and PASSENGER TRAINS.  Although I don't hear much about REDCAPs, PASSENGER TRAINS definitely still exist in large quantities!  Maybe it's best that crosswords focus on conserving the cahow.

This week's challenge appears in the sidebar—good luck!

John Samson Profile and Fred Piscop Commentary in CROSSW RD Magazine

In honor of Bernice Gordon and her long friendship with John Samson, I've posted the profile of John that originally appeared in the September/October 1994 issue of CROSSW RD Magazine—click here to read it on Scribd.  This terrific piece by Helene Hovanec provides a fascinating glimpse not only of John himself but also of Eugene T. Maleska, who harshly rejected John's first submission, ordering him to never send anything again.  Despite this inauspicious beginning, the two ultimately became co-editors and friends—a testament to John's perseverance (and congenial nature!).

John Samson in 1994. Photo copyright
1994, 2015, Megalo Media, Inc. Reprinted
by permission of Stan Chess and
CROSSW-RD Magazine. 

I've also posted Fred Piscop's follow-up commentary, "'Your Stuff Stinks,'" that appeared in the next issue, November/December 1994.  This thought-provoking piece offers aspiring constructors sage advice that is just as relevant today as it was more than 20 years ago.  To read it, click here.

Mary Cee Whitten

Photo courtesy of The Evening Independent.

Litzer, proofreader, and historian Todd Gross has been busy researching pre-Shortzian constructors and recently found a link to a great 1985 article featuring constructor Mary Cee Whitten:  "Crossword constructors:  Who makes up these mind-teasers?" by James Ricci.  According to my (incomplete) records, Whitten published at least 7 puzzles in the pre-Shortz era.  The article includes comments by Eugene T. Maleska, constructor and puzzle editor Herb Ettenson, and constructor Judith Dalton.  To read it, click here; the piece continues on another page, which you can navigate to by clicking on the righthand arrow at the top of the page.  Thanks again, Todd, for this awesome find!

Funny Typos

The proofreading has continued to chug along; as a result, my file of funny litzing errors has continued to grow!  Here are ten rib-ticklers from the archives:
    • Right:  Be misplaced, as a participle.
    • Wrong:  Be misplaced, as a principle.
  • ELI
    • Right:  Blue rooter.
    • Wrong:  Blue rooster.
  • ETNA
    • Right:  Threat to Sicily.
    • Wrong:  Treat to Sicily.
    • Right:  Kind of verb: Abbr.
    • Wrong:  Kind of verb: Irreg.
    • Right:  Carousal: Fr.
    • Wrong:  Carousel: Fr.
    • Right:  Type of garment.
    • Wrong:  Type of government.
    • Right:  Rocket parts.
    • Wrong:  Pocket parts.
    • Right:  Cultivated land.
    • Wrong:  Cultivated lard.
    • Right:  Kitchen aids.
    • Wrong:  Lichen aids.
  • ZANY
    • Right:  Clownish.
    • Wrong:  Clownfish.
I was actually able to find a picture of a Yale rooster stickpin, which I've included below:

Image courtesy of Collectible Ivy. 

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