Shortz (from Page7

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Of course,somevetemnsolverslike the per on the train to seehow solversfared.
rejuvenated
puzzle. "Doing thepuzdeis "It's reallypathetic,"hesays."I'l1find an
on the Indonesianisland of Celebes- lessautomaticnow," saysCharlotteCre- entirepuzzlewith only threeor fourwords
min, a 61-year-oldretiredmiddle-school filled in beforesomebodythrewthepaper
whereit belongs:"out to pasture."
Mr. Shortz also likes puzzles with mathteacherin New York. "You haveto away."
themeslinking severalcluesandanswers. think more,andI think that'sgreat."
Not thathewouldhaveit anyotherway.
Thefi rstTimespuzzleheeditedcontained
Mr. Shortz'sjob consistsof choosing Like his p'redecessor,
Mr. Shorz tries to
severalsquarcsthat had to be fterally aptzzle from themanythatarecontrib- makethedailypuzdeprogressively
harder
colorrd raflrcrthan filled in with leuens. utedby a stableof morethan 100con- thrcughoutthew@k. "I know I'm wiping
Forfheclue,"Nameoftwo Englishkings," tributors-computer professionals, out mostsolverson theFridayandSaturthefirst five squaresof thehorizontalsix- teachers,teenagersand octogenarians. daypuzzles,"he says,smilingslightly.
squareanswerread"ETTIEL." For the For each puzzle he selects,he tums
Most of his followerswouldn'thaveit
clue "Bit," tlre first two letters of the downnineothers.TheTimespays$60 anyotherway, either. EvenMrs. Barish,
vertical,three-square
answerread"SH." for a daily puzzle(the rate will rise to whom Mr. Shortzdrives crazy, says,.,I
The sqtrarewheretlre t'wo answersmet $75 on Jan. 1) and$225for a Sunday picturelifewithoutthepuzde,anditwould
waszupposed
to be coloredred,produc- puzzle($300startingin January).
bevery tenible."
D
ing the words "SHRED" (tlre bit) and
Mr. Shortzcleansupandoftenrewrites
"ETTIEIRED' (thekings).
InMemorlam
the conuibutors'clues. He likes upto"Thepuzzleshould
"Each"
bemorethanatest dateslang.
on onerccentptzzle
Jordan S. Lasher
yourknowledge,"
The crosswordworld mournsthe passing
of
saysMr. Shortz,who wassolvedby "APOP."
of one of its most well-known figures-,
isknowninwordgamecircles
[r addition,herelishedall sortsofnicks.
as"WILLZ"
constructor Jordan S. Lasher of Novato,
"WILL"
"2").
"It
'Num(which is
plus short
On puzdeseditedby Mr. Shortz,
Califomia, who succumbedto a brain nrmor
shouldbeatestof yourwits." That'swhy berafterone"is "AREACODE."Thesixon January3 I , I 995 at the ageof forry-eight.
heniesto avoidrepeatingclues. He also letter solutionto "'O' followef isn't
kr 1978, Lasher cooked up what many
consider the most difticult crosswordever
prefen puzdes with few black squares, "PqRSTU" but "CANADA" (ftom the
constructed. On an assignmentfrom a
whichmeansfewerbut longerwords.
songtitle). "Mole work" is "IJTOpIA,"
Clevelandbookstore,Lashercreateda25x?S
Suchwordplaygivesreadersanacross the book by the English statesnanSir
prtzzlefor aV4.-howpuzde marathon.Though
tobear."It's completelyfrustrating.I tell ThomasMore.
the 186marathonentrantswerepermittedfree
useof all of the bookstore'sreferences,none
my wife thattlrepuzdesdon't qpeakmy
Someyoungerfansbelievesuchclues
cameeve,ncloseto completingthepuzzle. In
language,"saysWilliam Forman,an 80- actuallymakethepuzde easier."There
fact, the marathon winner, former Games
yearold professoremeritusat Bmoklyn used to be more obscurestuff," says Magazhe editor Mike Donner,
gor only 88Zo
Collegewhohasbeensolvingnewspaper MelissaBlock, a32-year-oldradio reof the puzzleentriescorrect.
Overhis constructingyears,Iasher gained
puzzlesformorethan5Oyean. porter in New York. "There's more
crossword
the
respectand friendship of the venerable
Mr. Formansaysheis now oftenstymied popularculturenow, whichhelpsme.
me. I
MargaretFrrar, theoriginal crosswordeditor
by the Times pozde. What especially readPeoplemagazine."
of The New York Tinus. Farar purchased
upsetshim is the growing use of gimMr. Shortzhasloved word puzzles puzzlesfrom Lasherfor Simon & Schuster,
micks.
sincehis childhoodin Crawfordsville, Pocket Books, and the los AngelesTimes
syndicate, and directed Lasher to manv other
Mr. Shortsshrugsoffmost of thecriti- Ind. By age 16,he was regularlyconmarkets. Farrarrespected Lasher srdhis work
"I
cism. getlette$ fiom old peoplewho tributingpuzzlesto magazines.He deso much that she agreed to fly to Cleveland to
areangrythattheycan'tlookupmanyof signedhis ownmajor--cnigmatologybe a celebrity guest at the bookstore mararhon
my cluesin a crossworddictionary,"he at IndianaUniversityandwrotea thesis - and at Oretime, she was over 80.
Lasher was co-editor, with Norton
says."I wearthatcomplaintasabadgeof onAmericanwordpuzzlesbefore1860.
"Crossword
ptzzle
Bramesco,
of
honor."
He gotalaw degreefrom theUniversity
Compendium." Published in 1980, irconsisted
of Virginia. But ratherthan practice of ab,rief history of the crosswordpuzzle, plus
R
a collection of biographical sketches of the
law,
hebeganeditingpuzzles,andthen
'J
premier constructors of the day.
N
becameeditorof Gamesmagazine.
For three yean, Lasher crealed the Sunday
sA L e s
Mr. ShorE, a trim, soft-spokenman,
crossword forThe Boston Globe, altemating
E
c
R
E I P
worls fromhisPleasanwille,
N.Y., home,
weekendswith Emily Cox md Henry Rathvon.
{
R E I I F A R ftl
He resigned that position in 1986 when he
wherehe keepsmorethan 12,000bool$
D o v E
R A I L
found that family commihnents, plus the
andmagazines.Aprized possession
is an
Mo R E
D R A t/
demands of his position as an oil company
original page fiom the Dec. 21, 1913, executive, left him insufficient time to
H A RD
devote
T I E D
editionof theNew York World that carto his puzzling duties.
L I o ^rl ls A N D
JordanLashernevercontributedapuzzleto
riedthefi ntmodemcmssword,
thencalled
E V E N
N G
"Word-Cross."
CROSSW RDMagazine-hehadeffectively
E v A D e,
retiredfrom the brsinesswell beforeVolurne
WhenMr. Shorz commutesto his ofA R E
I, IssueI hit thestandsin late 1990.But those
fice at theTimesoncea week,he combs
who havebeendoingcrosswordslongenough
D
throughabandoned
copiesofthe newspa- to have rememberedLasher's work will

Solution
b ArthurWynne'sFirstCrossword

Spring1995

rememberhim asone of the best.

CROSSWRD

Page 9