Friday, May 15, 2015

1956 Puzzles Up, Todd Gross on Jean J. Davison, and Mark Diehl First Four-Time Blast! Winner

Project Update

We've been making great progress on the proofreading, and the 1956 puzzles are now up on XWord Info, thanks to Jim Horne!  This week's puzzles started coming in on Friday night, when Denny Baker sent 15, which were followed by 13 from Mark Diehl.  Late Saturday night Mark sent another 13, then Sunday morning Denny sent 8, followed a few hours later by 1 more.  That evening Mark sent 13, which were followed a short while later by 9 from Denny and another 13 from Mark.  Monday afternoon Mark sent 13 more, and Tuesday afternoon Denny sent 12 and then another 8 Wednesday afternoon.  That night Mark sent 16 more, then another 15 Thursday morning, which were followed by 12 from new proofreader Patsy Stewart (who found 83 mistakes).  Thanks so much again, everyone!  The next puzzles that go out for proofreading will be from 1944, so we have less than three years left!

Mark Diehl First Four-Time Blast! Winner

I'm delighted to announce that Mark Diehl is the first four-time Blast! from the Past winner—congratulations, Mark!  Sunday morning at 9:34 a.m., after just two letters had been revealed, he sent in the correct answer to the May 18, 1952, clue "It threatens to crack."  The answer:  SOLID SOUTH.  Mark noted that the South "did 'crack' a bit during Eisenhower's election to the presidency."

1952 House Election Map. Image courtesy of uselec- 

This week's Blast! challenge is now up in the sidebar—good luck, everyone!

Todd Gross on Jean J. Davison

Photo credit:  John A. Davison

Some time ago litzer, proofreader, and historian Todd Gross sent me an e-mail about pre-Shortzian constructor Jean J. Davison.  According to my records, Jean published at least 62 puzzles in The New York Times from 1972 to 1993.  Todd wrote:

This time, I looked up Jean J Davison.  With a good bit of effort, and some piecing together, I can definitely say I found her.  However, it's not as simple as that.  Here's the problem: there are three people named Jean Davison in roughly the same part of the world whose biographies overlap.  Two, in fact, have lived in Burlington, VT, which really confused me for a while.  There are other Jean Davisons who also confused me at times.

The one I'm sure about developed TV Crosswords for what is now Universal U-Click and has authored a few books, including one about Lee Harvey Oswald.  I am enclosing a detailed bio of her, which mentions the crossword puzzles.

Though I'm not 100% sure, I have good reason to believe she is still alive, and living in Burlington, VT.

Here's the biography Todd found:

Fascinating research, Todd—thanks so much again!  It's amazing that two of the three Jean Davisons with overlapping biographies lived in Burlington, Vermont!  Looking for a photo of Jean, I did a little more research; as Todd mentions, she did indeed write a book on Lee Harvey Oswald, and I discovered that she has an author page on  Her book, Oswald's Game, was published in 1983 by W. W. Norton and included an introduction by Norman Mailer.  A search of her name on the Web site didn't produce any photos of her but did show that Jean was still active on the site earlier this year.  And, following up on a link to a review of her book, I finally found a photo of her, which I've posted above. 

Image courtesy of oswalds-game.

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