Copyright ©2003 by Paul Niquette. All rights reserved.
As a courtesy to solvers, both the statement and the solution of a puzzle must be precisely correct. That puzzle-creation carries solemn responsibilities bears repeating, for it is a lesson I have learned repeatedly, beginning in 1953, the year I published my first puzzle in California Engineer, while I was a Junior at UCLA. It was a crossword puzzle in -- get this -- three dimensions.
With face in full grin, I handed a copy to one of my classmates, Don Lauria. He shrugged and took out a pencil. "This looks easy," he said. Don quoted the clue for 1-Across on X-Y Plane-1, "Equestrian accelerator." I watched as he jotted "SPUR."
"No, Don," I chuckled. "It's S-P-I-R."
Lauria shook his head and handed me back the magazine. "Better look it up," he said.
A half-century later, I published the Cross-Number Puzzle you see here and, sure enough, I made several mistakes. The indignant reports have flooded in from solvers near and far.
One correspondent lives in Bishop, California. Having quite obviously lost confidence in the accuracy of my clues, he took the trouble to recalculate the Reaman Numerals used in several entries. "Better check 55-Across," he wrote.
The fellow happens to be a world-renowned rock climber and quite a scholar. Oh, and his name is Don Lauria.
In 2003, the author of Cross-Number Puzzle was quite oblivious to an immense body of published "crossnumber puzzles" (without the hyphen). In 2006, Professor William Sit, Department of Mathematics, City College of New York, CUNY, published a fascinating paper entitled On Crossnumber Puzzles and the Lucas-Bonaccio Farm, 1998, wherein sophisticated solvers will find comprehensive analyses of crossnumber puzzles, including (ahem) this one.