Monday, October 15, 2007

Barry Tunick dies

Contructor Barry Tunick, who for 28 years partnered with Sylvia Bursztyn on the sunday Los Angeles Times puzzle, has died of acute leukemia. According to reports, the diagnosis was relatively recent.

The following is a reminiscence to the Cruciverb mail list by Sylvia Bursztyn.

My friends,

Barry Tunick and I co-wrote the Los Angeles Times Sunday Puzzler for just short of twenty-eight years. Ours is not the syndicate puzzle. It is exclusive to the Sunday LA Times. Long story, for another time.

Barry told me only weeks ago of being diagnosed with acute leukemia, and just days ago told me he thought this weekend would be his last. John Suarez's report [another posting to Cruciverb] tells the story. Barry said the same to me, that he cherished his family and had had a fine life.

A partnership does not last twenty-eight years with just anybody. He has to be a thoughtful, patient, considerate, tolerant, agreeable man. In short, a thesaurus of fine qualities. In business, he was without guile or games. He dealt in a straightforward and honorable manner.

I was theme, grid and editing; he was clues and theme suggestions. I'm going to carry on the Sunday Puzzler and our Random House volumes, with his blessing and his generous confidence in me.

I will miss Barry, our collaboration and his excellence, forever. The loss is incalculable.

Sylvia Bursztyn


Dave said...

Dave here. There is also a quite poignant entry on Ellen Ripstein's blog. Ellen proofreads the puzzles for the LA Times Calendar, and she got a note from Barry with the final puzzle he submitted saying simply "Send proofs to [Sylvia] - next Monday I'm out of here (leukemia)." He knew the end was coming. Really sad. But he left us a great legazy of puzzlemaking.

Ann said...

I have been solving, nay struggling with solving, Sunday puzzles for many years, but I would not have missed. It was a ritual, along with going to Mass on Sunday.

He will be missed.

I have sent a letter of condolence to Sylvia Bursztyn.


Anonymous said...

Dear Sylvia, What canI say? Barry and Sylvia have been a part of my life for all their years together. I live for the Sunday Times Puzzle. My mother and I always said "..on your mark, get set...." to see who could finish first with the least amount of mistakes. When I moved to Las Vegas in 1992 I bought a fax machine for my mother so she could fax the puzzle to me and we could continue our 'tradition'. My mother is 89 now, and sadly she has difficulties remembering things, but she still struggles to keep that puzzle going. I live in Henderson, NV, now and I have the L.A.Times dilivered every Sunday just for that puzzle. It was a sad day when I noticed that Barry's name was no longer mentioned. I just looked up his name to see why. I am so sorry. How can I thank you for the many, many years of the 'best part of my Sundays'. I will continue to make that the best part of Sunday morning. Thanks again, Christine Borak