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The Old Farmer's Almanac: where I always go when I need to know what the proper astrological place for the moon should be if I want my best results in pouring concrete, slaughtering livestock, or cutting my hair to encourage growth.*

I remember long ago there was an OFA article about eponyms— words that were derived from people's names, such as "sideburns", "leotard", and "bloomers". This was how I learned that volleyball began as a form of torture which involved restrained prisoners being forced to watch naked chambermaids bat a loaf of bread over a clothesline with their undergarments hung upon it. When the loaf broke, the prisoners had to get down on the floor and eat the crumbs. I'm pretty sure there are plenty of folks out there who would pay to be tortured like that.**

There was one eponym for each letter of the alphabet and I know what you're thinking, so: "Xanthippe". The article was called, "How To Become Immortal" if mem'ry serves. The idea was that you would achieve figurative immortality by getting something named after you. Thinking it over, I've decided long ago that this can also be achieved in reverse: change your name to something that people will want to use. Makers of crossword puzzles, for example. That's how I know who "diarist Anais" and "golfer Ernie" are. ("NIN" and "ELS", respectively.) Just think of how often their names are used in puzzles, all out of convenience for putting a puzzle together properly.

Seriously, who remembers Tek War aside from crossword solvers? All you'd have to do is become marginally successful in whatever field you're in, then let the puzzle editors do the rest, so long as you change your name to "Ams Elt" first. "Finally! I'll no longer have to use the 'Mornings?' clue, forcing solvers to give a clunky abbreviated, apostrophe-based-pluralization answer! I can just use 'X Games medalist Elt' instead, and it will work perfectly!"

I notice this sort of repetition of obscure information occurs most often in the TV Guide crosswords. Any sort of connection to television must be exploited in order to justify the puzzle's presence in the magazine. There's one clue asking for the name of the mother character on a show called African Skies which, from what I see on IMDB, was a Canadian program and may not have ever aired in the U.S. for all I know. That's kind of a stretch. If they're willing to go that far, you might be able to make it in the TV Guide puzzle with a credit such as "Key grip for Discovery Channel's Naked People Island" or "Comedian on truTV's World's Shiniest Objects".

One example that always got on my nerves was the recurring three-letter "Phillips of Maniac Mansion" clue. They use it all the time, so it has to be an unusual name. I've always been tempted to write "EMO", because who else would be on a show called Maniac Mansion, right? Sorry, but the correct answer is "AVI". Turns out Emo Philips spells his last name with only one L anyhow. I do remember seeing an episode of this show on The Family Channel way back when. All I can recall was that there was a kid character played by a grown man, not unlike Mork & Mindy or Beverly Hills 90210.

So, if you want to be remembered, you need a convenient, short, unusual name. Just ask "Easton of Citizen Baines".***


* Page 244 of the 2015 edition.

** My dictionary says it's from the French word for "fly", and I can't find anything else about this story online. Was the OFA just making this up because they couldn't find anything beginning with V? Perhaps the illustrator just wanted an excuse to draw that particular activity.

*** It lasted seven episodes. See what I mean?