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Champion a Woman of Her Word

August 18, 1986|DEBORAH CHRISTENSEN

Crossword puzzlers sharpened both pencils and wits as they deciphered audio and written clues at the 5th Annual Open Crossword Championship in New York. Competitors had to identify Kermit the Frog warbling "It's Not Easy Being Green" and Serapis as the name of John Paul Jones' ship. And the winner? Rebecca Kornbluh, the two-time defending champion, who whizzed through the playoff puzzle in 5 minutes and 41 seconds without an error, erasing 247 other contestants. The key to success in the daylong competition is for "your hand to be writing one thing while your brain is already working on the next answer," said the 35-year-old weaver from Mundelein, Ill., who practiced by doing 15 puzzles a day and writing her own double acrostics. Her prize was $1,500 and a six-foot-long pencil.

--The surviving members of Glenn Miller's wartime big band made a sentimental journey, holding their first reunion in 41 years in Dayton, Ohio, where they received the Air Force commendation medal at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. "If they sat down, these members, without any rehearsal . . . and started playing, you would hear the Glenn Miller sound," said David Sackson, 74, violinist and one of the arrangers for the former Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band, which entertained thousands of troops during World War II. Of the original contingent of more than 60 band members and crew, 26 attended the reunion, said Linda Smith, a spokeswoman for the Air Force Museum, the reunion's host.

--The battle of the bugs is in full swing in Florida, with Charles Rigby of Clearwater the dubious winner of a Tampa exterminating company and radio station's competition for the biggest cockroach. Rigby claimed he needed tranquilizer darts, a baseball bat and two friends to wrestle Nasty Dude, who was lurking in his woodshed, into submission. For his efforts, Rigby won $497 and half a year's worth of free pest control. Nasty Dude, at two inches long, will be bronzed. But it was outweighed by Longfellow, a 2 1/2-inch monster produced by Elouise Beach, from Apopka, who won $200 in a similar contest sponsored by an Orlando newspaper columnist.

--First Lady Nancy Reagan, "Moonlighting" star Cybill Shepherd and former CBS anchor Maria Shriver topped the list of America's 10 most beautiful women released by Harper's Bazaar magazine. All three cited diet and exercise as keys to their beauty. The 105-pound First Lady confessed a weakness for cookies but said she stays slim with a daily morning workout.

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