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The Last Puzzle

June 27, 2017 - Larry Claypool
Wilber ‘Wib’ Lundeen has loved sports all of his life. He retired after a three-year Army stint during World War II and 42 years as a repairman with the Canteen Corporation in East Moline, Illinois. Needing something to do after retirement, besides playing golf, Lundeen started creating cartoons and later crossword puzzles. Creating puzzles for golfers didn’t sell well but ones for hunting and fishing publications did. Including Ohio Valley Outdoors.

Sadly Lundeen’s puzzle ‘Raccoon’ in this issue (on Page 45) will be his last in this publication, as he’s retiring for a second time. And not because he wants to retire, but he no longer can see well enough to put puzzles together. He may have a good excuse, he’s 100 years young.

OVO has run Lundeen’s puzzles since 2008. In all we’ve enjoyed 48 hunting and fishing related puzzles from Lundeen.

Lundeen’s daughter-in-law, Penny Lundeen, who’s handling some of his affairs recently said Lundeen crafted more than 300 crossword puzzles over the years. Most of the puzzles were hunting and fishing related, but others were made concerning golf, baseball, football and some for children.

The children’s puzzles were sold in a magazine called Ranger Rick, a National Wildlife Federation publication. Lundeen also sold puzzles to the Dallas Sporting News and Midwest Outdoors, the first publication to run his puzzles. “It was only the hunting and fishing publications that seemed to be interested (in his puzzles). Most of Wib's knowledge was in baseball, golf and football and yet none of those publications were ever interested,” said Penny Lundeen.

As a young boy Lundeen enjoyed drawing cartoons and he started creating more ‘toons when he retired. He frequently visited the local library for inspiration and one day he noticed some crossword puzzle books but after some examination thought they were too difficult. So he decided to make his own puzzles about sports he knew about.

The interest in crossword puzzles led to many more trips to the library for Lundeen, as he spent many hours researching facts about sports for new puzzles.

Did Lundeen have a favorite dictionary to help craft his puzzles? Penny Lundeen explained the puzzle-making process her father-in-law used. “He would look in the glossary section of books and make an alphabetical list of the words pertaining to that particular sport and then use the dictionary to help him create the questions. He did this all by hand in the beginning and then we found a crossword puzzle software for his computer to assist him,” said Penny Lundeen.

What does a puzzle maker make from creating these solvers? “His first account was Midwest Outdoors and his puzzles are still being published by them. He was paid $35 per puzzle. I don't think he ever got an increase in pay but he was OK with that as it was just a hobby,” said Penny Lundeen. Ironically that is the same amount OVO has paid Lundeen since 2008.

Was anyone ever tutored by Lundeen to take over his puzzling craft? Apparently not. “Wib always wanted one of his kids to take it over but nobody was interested and when he could no longer see well enough to do it, he gave it up,” added Penny Lundeen.

So we close out Volume 17, Number 2 of OVO with a huge “THANK YOU” to Mr. Lundeen for his many hours of work preparing puzzles for our readers. And your $35 check is in the mail.

Editor’s Note:

• Wib Lundeen’s puzzles have been a part of OVO since I introduced them during my second year as Editor. They’ve been a great staple item in this publication. Only once did we forget to put the correct puzzle answers in the magazine. And did we hear about that from our dedicated readers.

• A brief explanation is needed for Lundeen’s final puzzle. I had previously held out the ‘Raccoon’ puzzle because there was a misspelled word in the puzzle, which ironically was the title word, ‘racoon’. We did not know that Lundeen had retired from making puzzles so we used the very last puzzle we had. Enjoy!


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Puzzler Wib Lundeen’s last crossword puzzle - ‘Raccoon’ - appeared in Ohio Valley Outdoors Magazine Summer 2017 issue, on Page 45.