Downtown Randall Brown: Luís Campos: Celebrity of ciphers

Posted: 3:47 p.m. 0

If we see me enjoying a solo lunch downtown, there’s a good possibility that I’ll be deeply pensive in a newspaper’s nonplus page. My favorite nonplus for many years has been a Celebrity Cipher, ever given a co-worker gave me a integrate of starter tips. In further to being a good mind exercise, it gives we an judicious quote to contemplate for a day.

For years, we wondered about Celebrity Cipher creator Luís Campos. Who is this nonplus master? we did a Google hunt in a mid-2000s and found really small information. The nonplus master was a mystery! we posted an entrance on a blog that we formerly wrote for, seeking if anyone knew about Campos. All was still for a few weeks, though afterwards a male himself responded by a enchanting tubes of a Internet. We have been coop pals ever since.

So, who is Luís Campos?

“I’m a poet, also an contriver and an artist, and last, though really not least, a cryptographer,” says Campos, whose communication can be found on his website, “My day is customarily a multiple of all 4 activities, depending on a needs of a day. For improved or for worse, I’m a perfectionist, that of march means spending additional time on many things, though in my perspective it’s value it. Nothing like station in front of one of your creations and exclaiming, ‘Hey, we did that!’ “

Campos has finished puzzles given 1983, when he sent samples of a nonplus he had combined to 30 syndicates, a companies that discharge comics and puzzles. He perceived 29 rejecting notices, though United Features Syndicate speedy him.

“I flew to New York and was sealed to emanate one TV-themed crossword nonplus any week for a grand sum of $35 for any one,” he says. “But we saw that as a good opportunity, so a income partial didn’t worry me that much.”

In 1984, his puzzles editor asked him if he could do cryptograms, and he’s been doing them ever since.

“At one time, we was putting out, on a weekly basis, one TV-themed crossword puzzle, 6 Spanish crossword puzzles and 6 Celebrity Ciphers,” says Campos. “I stopped doing a Spanish puzzles when we reached 5,000. Nowadays, we usually do 6 Celebrity Ciphers any week. we suffer operative on these some-more than anything else I’ve done.”

Campos was innate in Santiago, Dominican Republic, and came to a United States in 1948. He served stateside in a U.S. Army during a Korean War, as an MP and as a training association crew leader.

“I initial lived on 40th Street nearby 3rd Avenue,” he says. “The lease was usually $35 a month for a three-bedroom walkup apartment.” He now lives in North Hollywood, Calif., though competence pierce to Idaho after this year.

Campos comes from a artistic and active family of 10 siblings. The late Rafael Campos, his youngest brother, was an actor who co-starred in a 1955 classical “Blackboard Jungle.” Another brother, Fernando Campos, is a boss of a Latin ACE awards in New York City.

Campos approaches cryptograms in a same demeanour that he approaches his personal writing.

“The producer is always looking for poetry,” he says. “If it’s a prolonged quotation, I’ll discharge repeated deride that takes adult nonessential space and keep a tasty tools of a quotation. All quotations have to be in good taste, of course. we demeanour for quotes that contend something worthwhile, or new expressions that merit to be heard.”

In 2011, we had a event to get concerned in Campos’ cryptogram process. He put together a book of a few hundred Hollywood-themed puzzles in a book called “Cryptomaster Cryptograms: Cinema Issue.” we proofread a book by completing all a cryptograms. My mother still teases me for sitting during a Hangout bar in Gulf Shores, Ala., doing puzzles as my “beach reading.” Campos has copiousness of copies still in stock.

“I had 2,000 printed. There are a small over 1,900 in boxes in my garage,” he says. “I’m a creator, not a businessman. we wish to find a distributor for them some day. They’re classical books. we was really clever in selecting a quotations.”

When we slight to ask him a many apparent question, Campos asks it for me.

“Do we have a many favorite quotation? Yes, I’m blissful we asked,” he quips, and afterwards surprises me with a quote from my favorite author, British comedian Douglas Adams. “‘The answer to a good question, of Life, a Universe and Everything is … 42.’ “

Randall’s picks

Cryptogram future

When we asked Luís Campos about his destiny plans, he told me that “Cryptogram: The Musical” will start filming in September, with Brad Pitt portraying a minute “P” and Angelina Jolie personification a minute “J.”

“OK, we was only pulling your pierna, señor,” Campos admits. “On a some-more critical note, we devise to write a book of communication in cryptogram form, for a fun of it. I’m also in a center of scheming a book of communication and art, though it’ll be a small different. The book will be turn bound; a art is of a coloring-book style, for adults.”

He will also be featured in an arriving emanate of “Games World of Puzzles” repository ( Fans can check in with Campos daily around a Celebrity Cipher, distributed by Universal Uclick ( to newspapers such as a News Sentinel.

Sugar Mama’s Grand Opening

Mike and Hannah McConnell, whose business swell I’ve followed here for while, will applaud a grand opening of Sugar Mama’s Knox, 135 S. Gay St., with a badge slicing during 8:30 a.m. on Friday. The emporium offers house-baked honeyed goods, Yee-Haw and other brews on tap, and accessible “Cheers”-style camaraderie. Ten percent of Friday’s deduction will go to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. For info, revisit


The 16th annual South Knoxville Arts Heritage Festival, famous to all as Vestival, will be 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday during a ancestral Candoro Marble Building, 4450 Candora Ave. in a Vestal neighborhood. This year, Vestival is partial of a city-wide jubilee of a 225th year birthday of Knoxville, once nicknamed “The Marble City.” Plans are for a full day of fun, music, theater, dancing, food, children’s activities, ability pity and fellowship. For info, revisit

Hydrocephalus Awareness

The Hydrocephalus Acoustic Night will advantage Hydro Angels Over America 709 p.m. Thursday, May 12, during Asia Cafe West, 8111 Gleason Drive (near Downtown West). Performers will embody Steven Swicegood, Steve Cummings (Autumn Reflections), Matt Wright, Adeem Bingham and more. For info about a charity,

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About Randall Brown

Randall Brown is a longtime Knoxville writer, musician and prepared space monkey. He enjoys family time, rock’n'roll and lovely iced beverages.

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