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Cecil Adams
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Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 712

PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 9:34 pm    Post subject: Cecil Adams Reply with quote

Cecil Adams is a pseudonym identifying the unknown authors of The Straight Dope, a popular question and answer column published in The Chicago Reader since 1973, which has since been syndicated in thirty newspapers in the United States and Canada, and available online. Billed as the “World’s Smartest Human Being,” Adams responds to often unusual inquiries with abrasive humor (often directed against the questioner), and at times exhaustive research into obscure and arcane issues.

The Chicago Reader applied to register Cecil Adams as a trademark in 1986, stating in their application that “Cecil Adams does not identify any particular individual but was devised as a fanciful name.” The trademark application also notes that it was first used in 1973, i.e., when the column began. (The trademark registration was refused for unknown reasons, despite an appeal.) Thus, it seems likely that the pseudonym is applied to a group or series of writers, much like Carolyn Keene is used as the putative author of the Nancy Drew book series.

Adams himself claims that he has “never been photographed,” but Ed Zotti, Adams’s “assistant and editor,” who fulfills Adams’s publicity engagements, has appeared in at least one photo captioned “Cecil Adams.”

In his columns, Adams has revealed a few details of his personal life. He is married, and it is believed that he has children. He is an accomplished traveler, and currently resides in Chicago. He is also left-handed and may be balding (Evidence). He attended Northwestern University (he mentions having taken a class with Northwestern English Professor Bergen Evans).

Cecil Adams’s columns are archived at the Straight Dope website, which also hosts a popular internet forum, and there is a popular Usenet group,, as well. In 1996, the A&E Network briefly aired a show hosted by comedian Mike Lukas based on the column called, of course, The Straight Dope.

To date, Adams has published five collections of his The Straight Dope columns, and has watched as his “assistant” published a children’s collection in The Straight Dope style titled Know It All.

He has been “fighting ignorance since 1973” (which is the column's motto), and there are more than 600 articles available for browsing in the online archive. Columns are accompanied by illustrations; the regular illustrator for over a decade is Slug Signorino, a successful commercial artist, who, like Cecil, is very secretive. His illustrations often depict Adams as a turkey wearing a mortar board.

Cecil regularly refers to his readership as 'the teeming millions', a phrase shared by (and ostensibly lifted from) Stoker's Count Dracula.
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Joined: 17 Nov 2006
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So how is this a urban legend?
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