Monday, July 28, 2014

Pogo 9/15/52

I am, as I have previously stated, a big fan of Fantagraphics' republishing of Walt Kelly's Pogo comic strip. In the second volume, I was interested to see the last panel of the strip for September 15, 1952. One corner of the panel has clearly been redrawn and relettered, and rather crudely and inaccurately. I don't know if this is how the strip was printed in all newspapers (i.e. the damage happened somewhere between Kelly handing the strip off to the syndicate and its being published), or if the damage only happened in the particular newspaper that Fantagraphics referenced for that strip.

But the same panel appears, perfectly intact as Kelly wrote and drew it, in the book The Pogo Papers. For the sake of anyone who might have noticed this in the Fantagraphics book, below are both versions. (You'll see that in the Pogo Papers version, there's a great deal more detail in the line work as well.)


Monday, July 21, 2014

Stephen Sondheim's Crossword Puzzles

I've become obsessed with the cryptic crossword puzzles that Stephen Sondheim devised for New York Magazine in 1968-69. I'm slowly working my way through solving them. This article gives a pretty good overview of the Sondheim/puzzle story. In 1980 the puzzles were collected and published in the almost-impossible-to-find (or afford) book Stephen Sondheim's Crossword Puzzles from New York Magazine. (If you're remotely interested in this topic, you'll want to read Sondheim's explanation of why cryptic crossword puzzles are so much better than regular ones.)

As my research has shown, there were 42 Sondheim puzzles published in New York. (The book has 41, omitting the puzzle "Un-American", which has a central theme that became outdated just a few months after magazine publication.) 34 of the puzzles are readily available online, through Google Books. Below is my chronological list of which puzzles appeared in which issues, starting with New York's first issue. There were a few "holes" in 1968 in which other people contributed puzzles, usually Richard Maltby Jr., but I'm only concerning myself with the Sondheim puzzles here. In 1969 Sondheim switched to an every-third-week schedule, but apparently even that was too much for him to maintain as he was busy writing Company.

1968

April 8: Puzzle #1 (solution 4/22/68)
April 15: Dedicated Dodecahedron (solution 4/29/68)
April 22: 3 Downs (solution 5/6/68)
April 29: One Shy (solution 5/13/68)
May 6: Diametricode (errata and solution 5/20/68)
May 13: Woodbabes (solution 5/27/68)
May 20: Misprints (solution 6/3/68)
June 3: Vicious Circles (solution 6/17/68)
June 17: Chop Logic (solution 7/8/68)
June 24: News Clippings (solution 7/15/68)
July 1: Code Format (errata and solution 7/22/68)
July 8: Sixes and Sevens (solution 7/29/68)
July 15: A (K)night at the Philharmonic (solution 8/5/68)
July 29: Clicks… (solution 8/19/68)
August 5: Assemblage Line (solution 8/26/68)
August 19: Printer’s Devilry (errata and solution 9/9/68)
September 9: Playfair Square (solution 9/30/68)
September 16: Word Games (solution 10/7/68)
September 23: 1 Across (solution 10/14/68)
September 30: Alphabetical Inserts (solution 10/21/68)
October 7: New Directions (solution 10/28/68)
October 14: Winners First (solution 11/4/68)
October 21: Intermediaries (solution 11/11/68)
October 28: Head-Hunting (solution 11/18/68)
November 4: Safe-Cracking (solution 11/25/68)
November 11: Murder Mystery (solution 12/2/68)
November 18: That Is To Say… (solution 12/9/68)
November 25: Interlocks (errata 12/9/68solution 12/23/68)
December 2: Bookworm (solution 12/23/68)
December 9: Treasure Hunt (solution 1/6/69)
December 16: Perspectives (solution 1/27/69)
December 23: Christmas Competition (solution 1/27/69)

1969

January 6: Un-American (solution 2/17/69)
January 27: Vicious Circles II (solution 2/17/69)
February 17: Faces (solution 3/10/69)
March 10: Battleships (solution 3/31/69)
March 31: Alphabet Soup (solution 4/21/69)
April 21: Chessman (solution 5/12/69)
May 12: Code I (errata and solution 6/2/69)
June 2: Poker Game (solution 6/23/69)
June 23: Critical Birds (solution 7/14/69)
July 14: Sixes and Sevens II (solution 8/4/69)