Chocolatespoon: Emily’s Musings

Eugene Sheffer Puzzles

Posted on: December 17, 2006

As I’m collecting information for our upcoming crossword puzzle tournament, I of course keep coming across mentions of Eugene Sheffer (my grandfather’s older brother) and his puzzles. So here is a bit of information collected about him for future reference.

Dr. Eugene Sheffer, 76, Ex-Columbia Professor (NY Times, 5/4/81)

Dr. Sheffer, a native of Long Island, had been associated with the university’s French program virtually since his arrival at Columbia College as a freshman in 1922 until his retirement in 1966 after 25 years as director of the Maison Fran,caise. In 1960, the French Government awarded him its Knight’s Cross of the Legion of Honor for his work on behalf of French-American cultural bonds.

(I remember when Mom went back East for the funeral, I guess I was 6 1/2)

Puzzles syndicated by King Features all over are still given his name.

There is apparently a tape of him in the Columbia University. Oral History Research Office. The description includes: “Foundation of Maison Francaise at Columbia in 1913; director of house from 1942 to 1966; demoliton of original building, numerous visits from French artists; recollections of Edith Piaf and others.”

In “Atop an Underwood: Early Stories and Other Writings” by Jack Kerouac, an excerpt reads:

I wrote movie reviews for the Columbia Spectator, covered the varsity track team in the winter; ran a one-man typing agency, did some more ghost-writing, was elected Vice-President of the class, tutored French, and worked as private secretary for Prof. Eugene Sheffer of the French department. I helped Prof. Sheffer edit and translate his French textbook, typed out the whole manuscript, and even ventured definitions for his daily Journal-American crossword puzzle. We became fast friends; I wrote voluminously and took all my plays and stories to him.

Possible correspondence with Dwight D. Wisenhower over “a hand-tooled leather desk blotter given Eisenhower by General Juin”? (in the presidential archives.

Putnam’s Two-Way Question Book (1927) With Interlocking Answers. A book of crossword puzzles. By Eugene Sheffer. The Knickerbocker Press. New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons. p v-vi. [EPBLIB

Much more to come over the day… and Mom’s sending some additional clips to add later in the week.

5 Responses to "Eugene Sheffer Puzzles"

Hi, Can’t wait until Monday. Please share answer for 5 down and 1 across of Dec. 6 crossword puzzle. Clues are “attacked” and “moon-related”
Thank you,

I love Eugene’s puzzles. We have his daily puzzles in the NH Union Leader, however I need more!!! Where can I get puzzles from him to last my lifetime! lol


Hi. I like doing your crosswords. With regard to your puzzle in The Daily Astorian, Tuesday, Feb. 17th, 2009, however, I take issue with 33 across, “Dadaism pioneer” = “Max Ernst”. Max was a Surrealist, not a Dadaist (the two art movements have about as much in common as building demolition and architecture). An accurate solution to your definition would have been “Tristan Tzara”.

Keep up the good work, just the same!

Ian Elliott

I like crosswords too. Unfortunate for me that Mr.sheffer has such a free imagination with respect to words. Misspellings , made up words, erroneous definitions all abound in his puzzles as of late. Orate= speechify? trench= pit? slew=swerve? work really hard for=bustagut? maharaha=Hindu royal? really now.

I still do the daily puzzle, but with some frustration.Dan

I knew “Gene” many years ago in East Hampton, NY. He had cerebral palsy and rode his bike all over town. I believe he was associated with a summer school for those with cerebral Palsey on Ocean Blvd. in town. I lost track of him after I left town.
The reason I am writing is that my sister sent me crossword puzzles attributed to him. Some of the clues were of very recent origin which puzzled me, for he was older than I and I assumed that he had died. Which, as I see from your comments, that he had.
King syndication uses his name on puzzles you mentioned. That puzzles me. Do you know why? Do they own his name?
He was a great guy and I enjoyed knowing him.

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