TheResultsof cRossw RD's'crosswordese'survey

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By the Nation'sTopConstructors

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N{DTHEV],TYNNER'S.,.
WlliamLutwiniak
by HeleneHovanec
William Lutwiniak, unofficially dubbed.,theworld's
most prolific crossword constructor," is the official re_
cipient of the second annual Wynner award as Cross_
word PuzzlePersonof the year for 1991.
Prolificness,by itself, is insufficient to win crossword's
highest accolade.Lutwiniak earnedthis coveted award
by consistentlydemonstrating
crosswordexcellencewith
innovativethemesand clever clues.
Moreover, ever since he started constructing and
submitting puzzles Lutwiniak has been an absolutelv

dependablecontributor to editors of massmarket maga_
zines,newspapersyndicates,and book series.Editors
haveneverbeendisappointedwhen waiting for an enve_
lopeoflutwiniakpuzdes to meettheirdeadlines.They,ve
been able to rely on him for crosswordsthat require a
minimum amount of editing while offering solvers a
maximum amountof enjoyment.
William Lutwiniak is a distinguishedasset to the
crossword world. We at CROSSW RD Magazine are
proud to honor him.

he questionmostoften askedof Wil- he was 12 yearsold. "I canremember
mv introductionto theACA, wherehediscovered
liam Lutwiniakis, "How longdoesit sistershowingmehowto solvethepvzleii
that his earlycodeandcipherwork hadpre_
takeyou to build a crossword?"His theNewYorkDaily News.I thinkit was 13 pared
a
himwellfor thismoreadvanced
"About
material.
standard
response,
aslongasit takes x 13. Shesaid,'You look at l-Acrossand Heeagerlysolved
everycryptogmmin every
youto solveit," is receivedwith disbeliefbv thinkof a wordrhatfie ftere
andthengo to l- issue,mailedin hissolutionslist,andsawhis
mostquestioners.
Down.'Shewalkedmethroughitandthenleft nameappearin thespecial"completers,,
list.
During a 1987 crosswordtournament, mealone."
He "sort of built a reputation"asa topsolver.
"I
Lutwiniak had a chanceto prove himself
Soonafterttrat, discoveredthatttreNeil, Healsoenjoyedconstructing
codesandciphers
publicly by constructinga crosswordfor YorkHerald Tribunehadbetterpuzzles
andI andpanicipatedactivelyin the ACA for the
contestants
astheywaitedfor thechampion_ srarteddoing those."When he was 15 he
nextfive yean.
shipplayoffroundro begin.Describingthe constructed
hisfirst crossword,
sentit to ilre
By this time he hadgraduaredfrom high
eventlaterin his newsletter,
..I always
toumamentdi_ Tibune, andsawit published.
felt schoolandwasworkingfor minimumwagein
rectorStanNewmanwrote that Lutwiniak thatit wasa bit prophericbecause
it hadone NewYork City'sgarmentcenter,
"accepted
commuting
four lO-letterentriesfrom theau- long word across the middle
from his homein JerseyCity, New Jersey.
dienceand then proceededto compleF rhe CRYPTOGRAPHICAL."
"We
werea poor family; no onewent on to
consrucdonof a l5-by-15puzzlewiththose
In thoseearly crossworddaysall entries college."
entries...in
l3 minutes,g seconds
(thatis nota had to be singlewords.Suffixes,prefixes,
.
misprint)!"This diqplayevenincludedthe phrases,multiple words,quotes,
gim_
and
However,Lutwiniak's cryptologywork
cluing.
micksweren'ta sAndardpartof puzzlingyet. wasn't destined
toremainmerelya hobby.He
"I
Lutwiniakrecalls, simplylookedateach Lutwiniak's paltry paymenr
of $5 for the recallshisintroductionto hislifetimework.
answerandrattledoff ttredefinitions.I went puzzledidn't dissuade
"In
him fromcontinuing.
1940,withall thewarclouds,theSignal
throughall the acrosses
and all the downs
The road that Lutwiniak traveledto the IntelligenceService(S.I.S.)
of theWar De_
aboutasfastasI could talk. The wordswere NSA alsobeganin childhood
andwasa direct partment.(an outht I didn't know existed)
realsimple.It wasn'tanyjob cluingthem." outgrowthof his avid interest
in ttre pulp foresawtheneed for rapidexpansion
in the
Ifrecordswerekeptoncrosswordproduc- magazine,DetectiveFiction
Weeklv.The nearfutureandtheylaidplansfor recruiting.,,
tivity,Lutwiniak,thecreatorof g,3g0puzzles featurethatreallycapturedhis
attenrionwas Underthedirectionof ''a verysagegentleman
(atlastcount),wouldprobablybeeligiblefor M.E.Ohaber's"Codes
andCiphers',
column. whowasknownas*re fatherofUnitedStates
en[T/intotheGuinnessBookofWorldRecords. Lutwiniakremembers
that"it hadfi vecrypto_ cryptology,William F. Friedman, an effort
Throughouthis free-lancecrosswordcareer gramsanda problemin
arithmeticin which wasput in motionto attractpeople.One
of
Lutwiniak hasworkedwith mostof the np you had to recoverthe numbers
from ttre thesemethodswas to get from the ACA
editorsandhasseenhis work appearinjust lettersbasedon a keyword.I
solvedthosefor leadership
alist ofall goodsolvers,preferably
abouteverymajorpuzzlepublication.During a while."
young.I wason thatlist."
mostof theseyearsLutwiniak also worked
When Ohabernn a contestoffering a
WhenLutwiniakreceived
aletterfromthe
full-timeathis"real"job asa cryptologist
for subscriptionn TheCryptogram, amagazine S.I.S.offeringhim"thearmyextension
courses
the NationalSecurityAgency (NSA). The publishedby theAmericanCryptogram
fu_ on cryptographyand cryptanalysisto do at
seeds
forLutwiniak's dualcareersweresown sociation(ACA), as first prize,
Lutwiniak home"he'Jumpedat thechance.,,
His ex_
in childhoodandwerea directoutgowth of entered,
wonthecontest,
andgotthesubscrip_ tensiveACA solvingenabledhim to race
hisearlyinvolvementin puzzles.
tion.
throughtheintroductoryandadvanced
mili_
Lunpiniakstartedsolvingcrosswords
when
It was fire 16-year-old
Lutwiniak'sf,nst
(Continued on P,
January/February
1992
CROSSWRD
Page5

guy fromWW II.'
tion game."Lunviniakwas"enthralled"with
Dueto thesensitivenatureof theorganiza- the new puzzleswith multiple word entries,
tary cryptographyandcryptanalysiscourses. tion, he won't discusshis work. "I'm not. phrases,themes,andan"anythinggoes"attiEvenbeforehehadcompletedthecurriculum going to tell you anythingaboutit because tude. Inrigued, hestarted"buildingpuzzles"
hewasofferedajob,andonFebruary1,1941, 'Never Say Anything...NoSuch Agency' and sendingthem to Farrar."She liked
my
in Washington,D.C., Friedmanpersonally (referringto thetongue-in-cheek
references
to work and shepublishedimmediatelyoneor
welcomedhim aboardtheS.I.S.
the NSA). I don't mind giving you all this two things.Whatshedidn't publishshesent
SixofhisfellowACAmembers
eventually backgroundmaierialbecauseit's not classi- back, suggesting
corrections.
I'd makettre
followedthis sameroute to the S.I.S.,but fied."
correctionsand she'd publish them." EnLutwiniakwasttrefirst to startworkingthere.
Lutwiniak'scrosSword-prrzzling
career,
on couragedby thisboost,hebeganfree-lancing
Theagencywasexpandingrapidly andsoon theotherhand,is anopenbook.Althoughhe for all ttreavailable
outletsat that time,such
movedits officesto Arlington,Virginia.
put solvingandconstructing
on hold during as the Herald Tribune,The Times,and ttre
"About
ttrattimeI enlistedin theArmyand thewar ('I droppedttratkind of stuffbecause Simon& Schuster
books.
gotpickedupbytheSignalCorpsandusedas things were serious"),he picked them up
Lutwiniak recalls," I managedto getinto
a cryptologist,"he says.He worked in Ar- againin the'60s.
everything
I could,'free-lance-wise,'
because
lington until he was shippedoverseasand
Lutwiniaksayshe'll neverforgetthefirst there weren't that many markets.I started
spentthewaryearsin theChina-Burma-India przzle he tried to solve after ttris hiatus."I makinga namefor myselfby
sheerfrequency
theater.Lutwiniakcelebrated
V-J Dayin New cameacross
a copyofTheNewYorkTimes.I-o of gettingpublished
andI jusrwenralonglike
Delhi, retumedhomeshortly thereafter,and andbeholdit hada croswordpuzzlein it!" that."
resumedhis
careeras
aciviliancryptographer. Lutwiniak wassurprisedbecausefor yearsit
Lutwiniakthoughtcrossword
constructing
Overaperiodof timettreS.I.S.mergedinto had been "beneath their dignity." (Ihe was'Justahobby"untilJanu
ry 14,1973, the
the National Security Agency (lr{SA) and apocryphalstory is that Arthur Sulzberger, dayhisfamous"SpotAnnouncements"puzzle
Lutwiniakworkedhiswaythroughthesystem publisherof TheTimes,startedpuzzlesafter waspublished
in theSunday?inrs underWill
toseniorcryptologist.
In 1981hewasofhcially hefoundhimselfbuyingtheHeraldTribune Weng'seditorship.
Afterthismaverickpuzzle
placedon" aretiredannuitant
status."Henow foritscrossword.)Lutwiniaknoted
theeditor's (discussed
in CROSSW RD magazine's
worksas a cryptologistfour to five hoursa name,MargaretFanar,
andwondered
if he'd Marcty'April1991issue)
with its wordrebus
week.
"EN"
enjoy
puzzle.
solving
the
clues('WHE" for"middleof nowhere,"
"I'm calledin from
"I tried to
timeto timewhenmy
solve it and I couldn't." He for"beginningof theend,"and"V" for"center
corporatememorymay be of use to NSA. emphasizes
ttris."I couldn't!"He waitedfor of gravity") waspublished,"I becamedownWhatI donowisconsult,guideyoungpeople, thenextday'sissueto checkttreanswergrid right famous."
andmakemyselfavailable
toanswerquestions andthendiscovered"the
transformation
Fanar
After thesepuzzlesappeared,Lutwiniak
abouttheold times.I think I'm thelastactive hadbroughtto thewholecroswordconstruc(Continuedon Page9)

Lutwiniak (from Page5)

A FewCluesFromthe LutwiniakFile

In "ReadingLetters"Lutwiniak useda word rebustheme:
..H"
,,AFt

'rPolitical conventiontt
'(Part of an AMA conventiontt

"Beethoven'sfifth"
'rHalf a loaft
"First of all"
"The fourth of
July"

..A host ofparty delegatesD
..A number of anesthetlstsrt

"Handling
Inflation" yieldedthreefunny definitionsfor.,infla1i69"- "fate worsethandebt,""the crisisin prices,"and,.capital
'ryr,
punishment."
"Diet
"Meaningful
gavethelow-calorieversionof famoussayings:
Substitutes"
In
Duos" thenamesof famouspeoplewerepaired
"Flatter, diet-wise!"
to define words:
"Oleomargarine
uptt
<,A"

'aTotie - Franchottt

'(Fieldstonet'

"Soupy - Sir
Johntt
'il.ucille - Berttt

"Sales clerkt'
"Ball parks"

"Louls - Mllestt
"Abzug - Reedtt

"Primaveratt

"Golddigger'sdream,diet-wise!t',.Saccharine
daddy,
"Put on a feas! diet-wiselrt
.tKill the teancalp,

In "SoundEffects"solvershadtofill in theblankswithlettersthat
formedthesoundsof thecluedwords:

t'Belladonnat'

Lutwiniak'suseof an"obvious"themein "Now HearThis!"for
puzzletournamentwasn't always so obviousto solvers
1981
a
racingagainstthe clock for prizes.l7-Acrosswascluedas,,What
lhis is" and was answeredby "seventeenacross."The two other
thematicclueswere:
"lVhat 'this'ls'
"What this is"

"A fourletter word,t
'eThree-wordphrasett

January/February
1992

(BBBB'
(EEEEX

(lfomenttt
r(Saglcious"

.dTT'ITrt
.ryYYY'

'eTake by forcett

(cccc'

In "SalutingSeptember"
hebrokedownttrewordSeptember
into its componentpartsandcluedthemseparately:

In "ConventionalGroups" Lutwiniak amassedappropriately
namedgroups:
"NFL conventionsubgrouprt

"Aplary dwellers"
{tFacllity"

..A passelofquarterbacks"

CROSSWRD

..sEIyIirt
..EMBERtr

.SEPTEMBER"
..SEPP'
..EMBER'

"A subdivisionof a clan,
"Lenten fast days"
"A thlrty-daymontht,
"Frinch for seventt
"Smolderingbit of wood"

Page 7

constructorsto send thematicpuzzlesand good,I'll rebuildthoseportions.ThenI'll
offeredthem"thebestpricepossible."
(At that changedefinitionsasthewhim suitsme."
''I
wasinundatedwith requestsfor puzzlesand
timeit was$200,andttrerewasonly oneother
MacKayeandothersonthePosfstaff then
just kept up as best I could with the free- publicationpayingcomparable
rates.)
check the puzzle and might make more
lancing."When
The initial groupof contributorshasnow changes.
Farrar,WillWeng,orEugene
Lutwiniak feelsthattheendresultis
Maleskagot inquiriesfrom editorsneedinga doubledin sizeandLutrpiniakbelievesit will a "very professionalproduct."
specialkind ofpuzzle,tley'd be referred!o continueto grow as constructorshearabout
MomingsatttreLufwiniaks'SilverSpring,
Lutwiniak. "I built up somebusinessof ttrat themagazine
andsendin puzzles.
Headvises Maryland,hou5sargu5nallyspentonpuzzles.
sort-puzzles toorder,cusiom-madepuzzles,would-becontributorsto sendin their best The formerJeanneNewland,his wife of 43
puzzlesandpromisesto "give thema look- years,helpshim with the cluing and typing
andsoforth."
"DoWengalsopublishedLutwiniak's
see,andif ttrey'regoodwe'llrunthem."Once and takes care of all the businessmatters
It-Yourself' crosswordwith a gimmickthat amonthLutwiniakwill publishoneof hisown related to his free-lancework. In retum,
includednine uncluednumbersand one puzzles.Regularcontribu[orsincludeAlfio Lutwiniaksometimes
publishespuzzlesunclue indicafedonly with an asterisk.The Micci, FrancesHansen,Ernie Furtado,and der her name.Their grown daughter,Trina,
uncluedentriesyielded "without a clue," "the usuallitany."
professes
not!o solvepuzzles.
"uninformative,""missing
link," "meanLutwiniak's style includes"new-wave"
Lutwiniaknow constructs300puzzlesa
ingless,""drawinga blank,""ill defined," cluing:
year,considerablyfewerttranthenumberhe
"nothing
at all," "wide openspaces,"and
"without meaning."The
asteriskclue
yielded "unnumbered."Severalsolvers
wrotetoWengandcomplainedaboutsloppy LutwiniaR'sNSA backgroundshowsin manyof his themesandclues:
Two themeswereadroitlycombinedin ' NOTE"--{efinitions to theword"note"andthe
proofreading!
"TE' in
thegrid (No "te"). Main entriescluedwittr thepuzzle's
During his NSA years,Lutwiniak's eliminationof theletters
"Do
re me fa sol la or ti," "short informallefi," and'?ay close
crosswordcreatingwas relegarcdto eve- title wereansweredby:
ningsandweekends.With thesetime con- aFllionto."
Othercluesincluded:
straints, Lutwiniak divided the puzzlemakingprocessinto grid making, cluing,
"Thlrd party actlontt .rlnrventlon',
"Setincontrasttt
..Counrpointtt
and typing and worked on one stageat a
"Extra-legal law
"Corn.on-the.cob
time."Itdependedon how muchtimeI had
"Vigilan,,
..Salrst,
enforcert'
eaters,often"
on theclock. If I had only an hour I would
do anhour'sworthof typing andfinish that
In "Two For One," a tournamentpvzzle,solversracingthe clock realizedthat they had
up.Thatwasto maximizemy productivity to placel6-letterenEiesinto a standard15 x 15grid. The lasttwo lettershadto be placed
in thosedayswhenI hadto getwhatI could in onesquare:
"overcrowdedtt
out of eveningsandweekends."
"Running out of room"
"Lacking foreslght,r ..Not plannlng aheadrt
As a retireeLutwiniak is free to spend
"Just missedout'
.Telt r litue short"
threeto four hours a day on crosswords,
weekendsincluded,or as he puts it, "the
Similarly,in "SoandSo,"solverscouldonly fit thecorrectanswersinto thegrid by using
equivalentofa full-timepart-timejob." He an ampersand:
hascontractualobligationsfor newspaper
"Sheriff's chargd'
ttPeoplett
"Law & order"
"Men & woment,
(dailycrosswords,
syndicates
themedSun"Appleofone's eye" "Pride &Joytt
"Played Lucullus"
"Wined & dinedtt
day-sizepuzzles,and TV puzzles)and for
"When
specializedmagazines(Palm Beach Lift
madeduringhishrstyearofretirement.
"One by one?tt
..Eleven,
Americana).
and
peopleheardI wasretiredtheyaskedmefor
"Head start?t'
,,Necktt
He contributesto the crosswordseries
puzzles.Inthatlrst yearI made500puzzles,
"What's mssing"
..An itt
publishedby Simon& SchusterandRunbut
thatwastoo much,soI've cutback."
"Back talk?t'
,sEchort
ning Press.He makes sure to send Will
Lutwiniakries tofi trequests
intohisalready
Weng at least one puzzle a year for his
Withthepaper
havingacirculation
tight
more
schedule,
of
but
sometimes
has to tum
CrosswordsClub, "so I can receive the thanonemillion, Pos, readersacceptedthe awaywork.Heplansto continueto construct
bookpublishedannuallyby theclub,"and puzzleentlusiasticallyand, over the years, crosswords
for therestof hislife. "I don'tsee
he'sacontributing
editorto CROSSW RD havevoicedonlyonemajorcomplaint-they anyrqNonto stop.It's fun." As the72-year('I don't takethehonorificlightly; don't like ttre "slick paper"on which it's old reflectson hislife's work,Lutwiniakhas
magazine
I ry to havea puzzlein eachissue"). His printed.Lutwiniak'sresponse
to solversis, thefondestmemories
of his"spotAnnounce"IJse
mainfree-lance
commitmentis co-editing
anerasableballpointpen."
ments"crosword.
"To me
the WashingtonPost'sSundaycrossword
Atthe Post,all croswords submittedfor
that's the acme of crossword
with William R. MacKaye.
publication
goflusttolutwiniak.Hedescribes puzzledom.You get a good idea,cany it
"I look thepuzzle
In 1985,whenPost editorMacKayewas his sortingprocess,
over, throughwell, producethe finishedproduct,
planningthenewSundaymagazine,
hisgoal andif it's awfulI suggest
reasons
for rejection andconfoundanddelightthesolvers.If you
wastomakeitspuzzleasgoodasor betterthan with a critique,so theconstructorcanhavea do thatyou feel real goodaboutit."
tr
theonein TheNew York Times andhechal- shotat patchingit up. If therearethingsin
lengedLutwiniak to achievethat goal. ttrerettratdisturb
mysensibilities
orusewords HELENE HOVANEC is editorandpubLutwiniakinviteda hand-picked
crewof 20 and lermsthat I wouldn't,and the p:uzzle's lisherof Kids' Puzzle
Express.

Lutwiniak (from Page7)

LUTWINIAK'S
SECRETLANGUAG
E

January/February
1992

CROSSWRD

Page 9