Here is a mini-puzzle from BATH3 (that pirate-themed puzzle hunt from earlier this year):
Ye seek a four-letter word.Jack Flash _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Bill Cody _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Abe (Lincoln) _ _ _ _ _ _ Dan McGrew _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Cal (Coolidge) _ _ _ _ _ _ Dick (Nixon) _ _ _ _ _ _ Bill Hickock _ _ _ _ Marvin Hagler _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Prince Charlie _ _ _ _ _ _ Pirate Roberts _ _ _ _ _
OK, that's the puzzle. It's based on people commonly associated with epithets.
I wrote the first draft of this puzzle and the folks on GC liked it--except that they didn't know many of the "famous" people I came up for the first draft. I was kinda expecting that--I didn't really think that GAIVS IULIVS CAESAR OCTAVIANVS was a great hint for AVGVSTVS.
But I was sad to hear that "Big" Bill Haywood was obscure. I'd thought that people would know that one. When I was growing up, we learned about the early days of organized labor in the USA. There are names that stick in the head: Harry Bridges, Debs, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Joe Hill, and, yes, Big Bill Haywood. I'm not sure why other folks haven't been taught about these folks. Did I learn about them because the San Francisco public schools were staffed by filthy hippies and foaming radicals? Have we tried to forget these stories because we've seen how the labor unions turned out?
Maybe it's because there's a stereotypical course to the story of a labor leader of those days, and it's tragic. Organize people, do good, find out that Stalin has transformed communism into totalitarianism and... join Stalin anyhow or give up.
Maybe that's why I enjoyed All the Right Enemies, Dorothy Gallagher's biography of Carlo Tresca. He was a labor leader. But he didn't join the commies and he didn't give up. When the bosses were oppressive, he rallied people against the bosses. When the commies were oppressive, he took them on. The mafia, sure why not. Here, the tragedy is that more leaders didn't join him, sticking with "people's" movements that had been hijacked.
Eventually, someone shot Tresca. But it took a while and he had a good run before it happened. And plenty of other people got shot who did less good along the way.
Labels: book, filthy hippies, puzzlehunts