Home » Words and writing » JEAN SHEPHERD, Crosswords and Will Weng

JEAN SHEPHERD, Crosswords and Will Weng


Jean Shepherd, on his March 17, 1972 program, said that two days before, the New York Times in their crossword puzzle had referred to him in half the acrosses and downs. Using the microfilm facilities of my local library, I found the puzzle (and not being good at these things, I found the following day’s answers to it)  Exaggeration is the sincerest form of self-flattery, but the truth isn’t chopped liver.  Shepherd, your fame knows no bounds:


1  Nitwit FATHEAD

8 Midwestern city HAMMOND

16 State of 8 across INDIANA

44 Word for word VERBAL

46 Jean of radio and TV SHEPHERD

70 Pool game CHICAGO



1 Light movement FLICK

6 Expose AIR

21 Packing material EXCELSIOR

24 Sideshow man SPIELER

34 “Private—-” LIVES

Shep in crossword

Take that, Norman Mailer!



  1. says:

    body{font-family: Geneva,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:9pt;background-color: #ffffff;color: black;}Hello, Gene: I remember a broadcast (probably just prior to the one you mentioned) where Shep was ticked off that Will Weng’s crossword clue for kazoo was “unmusical toy.” Shep was so incensed, he asked all his listeners to write angry protest letters to “Will Weng, at the NY Times Crossword Puzzle Department c/o the NY Times, New York, New York.”Well, just like the response to Sweetheart Soap and I Libertine, listeners went all out to write letters of protest to Weng, defending the musicality of the kazoo. (I was one of those writers.)  Soon afterwards, Shep read a letter of apology from Will Weng, in which Weng used the word “jannissaries. The sentence was  “Ever since you unleashed your janissaries….” Shep laughed and said, “Boy, you can tell this guy writes crossword puzzles. I unleashed my janissaries…”[I later looked up that word. For the record, the Janissaries were a youthful but elite fighting force of the Ottoman Empire in the 14th century!] Enjoying your blog. It’s great.Regards,Lou Miano

  2. Tom says:

    This brings back memories. I’ll never forget Shep’s diatribe against a Will Weng puzzle that referred to the kazoo as a “toy” instead of a musical instrument. My sixth-grade friends and I, all accomplished kazooists and Jew’s harp players, faithfully obeyed our hero’s request to voice outrage in letters to the Times’ editor. Hard to imagine there was ever a time before on-line comments!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: