Stephanie Spadaccini
April 12, 2004 12:00 PM

Drawing a ___

Although we tend to get along with everybody, we’ve had a few crosswords

What’s a seven-letter word for the PEOPLE department that readers refused to let die? Puzzler. Since it first appeared in our inaugural issue as a word search of prominent names (right, see answers on page 280), the feature proved to be an obsession for its fans. “We got mail immediately on the puzzle,” says founding editor Dick Stolley. “Right from the beginning, people liked it.” Actually, they loved it. So much so that angry letters poured in when we announced the PEOPLE Puzzle would no longer run following the death of its original writer, Gerard Mosler, in 1985. “Shame on you!” one woman wrote.

Eventually we got around to resurrecting the page as a crossword with a new name, the Puzzler. Readership scores, however, were low. In 1993 our managing editor at the time, Landon Jones, replaced it with the Pop Quiz, a trivia test with Hollywood-related brainteasers. Nearly 600 loyal solvers let us know they felt crossed. “There were a lot of people who’d just yawned at the Puzzler,” says Jones. “But it turns out there was a devoted following.” How devoted? When we finally asked readers to weigh in on the Puzzler vs. Pop Quiz gridlock, almost 3,000 letters clogged our in-box faster than you could sharpen a pencil, demanding the crossword’s return. It proved to be the greatest readership response in PEOPLE’s history. “I reversed track,” says Jones, “and put it back humiliatingly fast.” And there the page remains. It took us a while, true, but we finally got the clue.

Test Your People Skills


3 E. ___ Hunt (first cover subject involved in a major scandal)

6 Singer-actress who earned a spot on PEOPLE’s first “Worst Dressed” list

8 ___ Pfeiffer (first “Most Beautiful” face)

10 Princess whose wedding was the first royal union on the cover

12 Johnny ___(late-night host who made the first “Best Dressed” list)

13 First issue to sell 1 million copies featured Telly ___

14 Muhammad ___(first boxer on the cover)

15 ___ Nicholson (first “Puzzler” subject)

16 First “Over the Tube” story spotlighted ___ Thomas

17 John ___ (Beatle commemorated in first “Tribute” cover story)

19 First Kennedy to grace the cover

21 ___ Csonka (first athlete on the cover)

23 Julia ___(first professional cook to appear on the cover)

25 Courteney ___ (first Friend to go solo on the cover)

27 Christian ___(actor on the cover of the first official Oscars issue)

29 ___ Vanderbilt (designer featured in PEOPLE’S first “Couples” profile, with 31 Down)

31 Prince who became the first baby on the cover

34 Diane ___ (actress highlighted in first Oscars cover story)

35 Billy ___ (voted “Favorite Male Singer” in PEOPLE’s first readers’ poll)

37 ___ Baez (folksinger who was the first musician on the cover)

38 John ___ (actor who was the first person to dance for a cover shoot)

39 Charlie’s ___ (first cast of a TV show to pose for the cover—and tote guns)


1 ___ Farrow (PEOPLE’S first cover girl)

2 ___ Kissinger (first four-eyes on the cover)

3 Hugh ___ (first cover subject with a pipe)

4 ___ Paquin (actress in first official Oscars issue)

5 Shelley ___ (actress deemed one to watch in first “Up and Coming” column)

7 Rock ___ (first person living with AIDS featured on the cover)

9 ___ Oswald (first “Bio” story examined the life of this widow)

11 ___ Alda (voted “Favorite TV Actor” in PEOPLE’S first readers’ poll)

12 ___ Tyson (Emmy-winning actress who became the first African-American cover girl)

13 Coretta ___ King (voted “Most Effective Women’s Leader” in People’s first readers’ poll)

16 ___ Tomei (actress on the cover of first official Oscars issue)

18 ___ Newton-John (first pop singer on the cover)

20 Cheryl ___ (voted by men to be the “Best-Looking Woman in America” in PEOPLE’s first readers’ poll)

22 ___ Anderson (with Burt Reynolds, the couple behind the first divorce cover story)

24 ___ Walters (first female news anchor on the cover)

26 The ___ (British imports who were the first singing group pictured on the cover)

28 ___ Estrada (one of our first “Sexiest Bachelors” in 1979)

30 Tatum ___ (Oscar-winning ingenue who became the first child cover-story subject)

31 ___ Cooper (with 29 Across, featured in People’s first “Couples” profile)

32 ___ Lovelace (adult-film star highlighted in the first “In Trouble” column)

33 ___ Nixon (first First Lady to be featured on the cover)

36 Age of 31 Across when he first appeared on our cover

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