Words & Stuff

nn: Secret Identities

(5 April 1998)

"'We name our fondlings in alphabetical order. The last was a S -- Swubble, I named him. This was T -- Twist, I named him. The next one as comes will be Unwin, and the next Vilkins. I have got names ready made to the end of the alphabet, and all the way through again when we come to Z.'
'Why, you're quite a literary character, sir!' said Mrs. Mann."
Oliver Twist, ch. 2

In An Almanac of Words at Play, Willard Espy wrote: "Is Clare Boothe Luce? Does Saul Bellow? Can Alistair Cooke? Did Ezra Pound? Did Mary Garden? Did John Reed?" (p. 243; entry for 20 September.) Aaron Hertzmann independently came up with a similar game:

What Stan wants, Stan Getz.
Others are impatient, but Tom Waits.
The hot sun makes David Byrne.
How does Julian Cope?

Some of my own entries:

Who did Al Gore?
Is Noah Wylie?
Who did Oliver Stone?
Immanuel wishes he could, but Immanuel Kant.
What is Stephen Hawking?
Democrats make Dan Quayle.
I think of Alice Liddell, but Sir Thomas More.
At Christmas time, did Lewis Carroll?
He's not supposed to look, but Samuel Pepys.
Did Edward Lear?
Did Alger Hiss?

If the above-named people got teased about their names, perhaps they would have preferred different ones. People sometimes aren't satisfied with the names they start out with. Adolf Hitler's father, for instance, was born Alois Schickelgruber, and only later (though still well before Adolf was born) changed his name to Hitler. Here's a quiz: a hodgepodge of sobriquets, epithets, nicknames, secret identities, and aliases. Match each original, birth, or "real" name on the left with a corresponding alias on the right. Some are real people, some are fictional; some are easy, some probably impossible.

name alias
Barry Allen
Frederick Austerlitz
Norma Jean Baker
Israel Isidore Baline
Lulumae Barnes
Sir Percy Blakeney
Charlotte Brontë
Charles Carter
Nicholas Coppola
Lamont Cranston
Dino Paul Crocetti
Jack Dawkins
Draupadi
Amandine-Aurore-Lucie Dudevant
William Claude Dukenfield
Mary Ann Evans
Tule Ellice Finklea
Emmanuel Goldenberg
Barbara Gordon
Jean Grey
Rodolfo A. R. P. P. Guglielmi
Frances Ethel Gumm
Carter Hall
Edda van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston
Rosetta Jacobs
Camille Javal
Arthur Stanley Jefferson
David Robert Jones
Allen Stewart Konigsberg
Lucille Vasconsellos Langhanke
Archibald Alexander Leach
Lucille Fay Le Sueur
Joseph Levitch
Louis Bert Lindley Jr.
Ladislav Loewenstein
Maurice Joseph Micklewhite
Harris Glenn Milstead
Marion Michael Morrison
Nikolaus Gunther Nakszynski
Brigid O'Shaughnessy
Walter Palahnuik
William Henry Pratt
Diana Prince
Steve Rogers
Rosalind
Cherilyn Sarkisian
Roy Harold Scherer, Jr.
Sofia Scicolone
Alice B. Sheldon
Jerry Silberman
Gordon Matthew Sumner
Simon Templar
Susan Tomaling
Viola
Marilyn Monroe
Jack Palance
Susan Sarandon
Divine
Stan Laurel
Artful Dodger
Klaus Kinski
Fred Astaire
Piper Laurie
George Sand
Holly Golightly
Miss Wonderly
Wonder Woman
Captain America
The Scarlet Pimpernel
Hawkman
Mary Astor
Joan Crawford
Currer Bell
Edward G. Robinson
Cesario
Peter Lorre
Sairandhri
Judy Garland
Woody Allen
Phoenix
Slim Pickens
Cher
Sophia Loren
Irving Berlin
Brigitte Bardot
Nicholas Cage
Cyd Charisse
Jerry Lewis
Cary Grant
Dean Martin
Rock Hudson
Batgirl
The Saint
Michael Caine
Ganymede
Gene Wilder
Audrey Hepburn
Charlton Heston
Boris Karloff
W.C. Fields
Sting
The Shadow
James Tiptree, Jr.
David Bowie
The Flash
Rudolph Valentino
George Eliot
John Wayne

Answers are on a separate page. Rather than providing a separate individual answer for each name, I've just lumped them all together, so match as many as you can before peeking.


Reader comments and addenda page


Jed Hartman <logophilia@kith.org>