Magazine article Word Ways

Remembering Ross Eckler

Magazine article Word Ways

Remembering Ross Eckler

Article excerpt

As a 10-14 year old, I was keen on mathematical puzzles--I knew of Dudeney and Lloyd-nothing too clever or sophisticated, though. A year or two later, I was getting into cryptic crossword puzzles. And when I was 15-16, I won several cryptic crossword clue-writing competitions in a national newspaper. Occasionally, I'd even check out Martin Gardner's mathematical puzzles section in Scientific American. Then one day in 1967,I read Martin Gardner's review of Dmitri Borgmann's Beyond Language. I was sufficiently intrigued by the examples that Gardner offered from the book that I bought both Beyond Language and Borgmann's first book from two years earlier, Language on Vacation. The books hadn't been published in England, so it was quite a task to contact the US publisher and to purchase copies of the two books. (A trivial task now with the internet!)

I couldn't believe the wonders offered by Borgmann's books. Language on Vacation opened up an amazing vista of puzzling that I'd not been aware of before, apart from the wordplay inherent in cryptic crosswords. I even found the courage to write to Borgmann telling him how much I appreciated the books. I didn't expect to get a response from him, but instead I got a welcoming and encouraging response. He told me that he was about to become the editor of a new word puzzle magazine, Word Ways. He suggested I might like to submit various items. Just in time, early 1968, I signed up for the very first issue (and haven't missed a single issue since then.)

The combination of Borgmann's books, Word Ways and a continuing stream of correspondence with Borgmann, helped to ignite and sustain my word-puzzling activities and my submitting material for Word Ways.

Two years later, Ross Eckler took over the ownership and editorship of Word Ways. I think I had probably swapped a couple of letters with Ross during Borgmann's two-year editorship, but now Ross was the main man. …

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