A sgroup of eagle-eyed puzzlers, using digital tools, has uncovered a pattern of copying in the professional crossword-puzzle world that has led to accusations of plagiarism and false identity.
Since 1999, Timothy Parker, editor of one of the nation’s most widely syndicated crosswords, has edited more than 60 individual puzzles that copy elements from New York Times puzzles, often with pseudonyms for bylines, a new database has helped reveal. The puzzles in question repeated themes, answers, grids and clues from Times puzzles published years earlier. Hundreds more of the puzzles edited by Parker are nearly verbatim copies of previous puzzles that Parker also edited. Most of those have been republished under fake author names.
The evasion of justice within academia is all the more infuriating because the course of sexual harassment is so predictable. Since I started writing about women and science, my female colleagues have been moved to share their stories with me; my inbox is an inadvertent clearinghouse for unsolicited love notes. Sexual harassment in science generally starts like this: A woman (she is a student, a technician, a professor) gets an email and notices that the subject line is a bit off: “I need to tell you,” or “my feelings.” The opening lines refer to the altered physical and mental state of the author: “It’s late and I can’t sleep” is a favorite, though “Maybe it’s the three glasses of cognac” is popular as well.
From a slope in Georgetown’s Oak Hill Cemetery, I looked down at a plain gravestone that was leaning to the right. Next to me, my friend Gary turned a map of the plots. Between the fall-dead leaves that half-buried it and the weathering of the stone, neither of us could read the name. Gary knelt, passing his hand over the letters. “Here she is,” he said. “E.D.E.N. Southworth, 1819-1899.”
We made the pilgrimage to find 19th-century author E.D.E.N. Southworth’s grave when I was rereading her most famous novel, “The Hidden Hand,” and realized she was buried here, in Washington. I immediately felt compelled to pay my respects and to take Gary with me, because we both first encountered Southworth’s work in graduate school.