Monday, February 27, 2006

A bit of nostalgia for Monday

The man you see in this picture, appropriately holding a Dell Crossword Dictionary, is the father of the Puzzle Brothers, Richard Mackey (1921-1991). Oddly, it was Mom who had the crossword smarts in our family, doing all sorts of puzzles, but it was the ridiculously easy TV Guide 13's she excelled at.

As for that Dell Crossword Dictionary, you have to remember that at one time, Dell Crosswords were really very tough and unfair, particularly under the editorship of Kathleen Rafferty (and whose contributors included Eugene Maleska). You needed a book like the Dell Dictionary. It helped some that Dell was also in the hardcover business under the Delacorte Press imprint. Voila! Another way for Dell to make some money.

The Dell Crossword Dictionary survives as a "21st Century Reference" (though it really hasn't been updated since 1994) under the stewardship of Wayne Robert Williams, who was the editor of Dell Champion Puzzles. Most of the Champion puzzles are perpetually being recycled in the pages of Dell Crosswords Crosswords.

Thanks for letting us reminisce, and thanks to Debbee for unearthing this family relic. I believe I took the picture.


Myron said...

So does "Dell Crosswords Crosswords" have any original material, or is it completely archival? I haven't bought one for a couple of years, but, knowing they're what remains of the once mighty "Dell Champion" line, I'm often tempted.

I do hate reruns, though, even if the odds I'll remember them are slim.


Dave said...

I was once told by someone who used to work for Dell that Crosswords Crosswords is roughly 85% reprints. Dell doesn't even have a spec sheet these days.

Robair has a better memory for the repeats; he will sometimes remember puzzles that he's solved before in Champion. I did remember that Trip Payne's puzzle about Barbie's résumé was reprinted about a year ago.

Marty Howard said...

Wayne Robert Williams edits the daily puzzle in the Chicago Tribune. A few of the Cru regulars like Vic have been constructors of those puzzles but you'd never know it because WRW is the only name you'll see. I'm sure I've missed out doing some good puzzles because there are so many terrible ones, I've given up.


Doug P said...

The Chicago Tribune puzzles appear in a couple of papers around here (Southern California) with the constructor's name and hometown prominently displayed. The hometown mention is pretty cool.


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