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Eugene T. Maleska
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Author
    (January 6, 1916-August 3, 1993)
    Born in Jersey City, New Jersey
    Former high school English teacher and principal
    School superintendent for District 8 in the Bronx (1970-73)
    Crossword puzzle editor for the New York Times (1977-93)
    Published numerous puzzle collections, 'Maleska's Favorite Word Games' and 'A Pleasure in Words'
    He would develop a permanent grudge against crossword constructors who violated any of his iron-clad (but usually unwritten) rules.
    He was strongly opposed to using pop culture references, post-1960 slang, or brand names in puzzles.
    So if 'oreo' was an answer, the clue would be 'mountain: prefix' (as in oreortyx, the scientific name for the mountain quail) instead of a reference to cookies.
    He had a reputation for excessive use of 'crosswordese,' obscure words that nobody uses in real life, such as esne (Anglo-Saxon slave), anoa (Indonesian ox) or Yser (river in France).
    His first crossword, written for the college newspaper, had as the clue for 1-across 'Most beautiful girl on campus.' The answer was 'Jean,' a classmate he was dating and would go on to marry.
    His first 40 or so crossword submissions to the New York Herald Tribune were rejected for being too good: the editors figured they could not have been created by a novice and suspected he cribbed them from another paper.
    He created the first New York Times crossword puzzle with a multi-word answer. (If you want to know, it was 'hardshell crab.')
    He was the first person with a New York City public school named after him while still alive (1973).

Credit: C. Fishel


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