publication date: Monday, October 29, 2018 (part of Fall 2018)

category: Literature

clue: This English author's pen used to be mightier than the sword, but now his name is synonymous with bad fiction.

explanation: Bulwer-Lytton was a celebrated writer in his time, coining such common expressions as "the pen is mightier than the sword." However, the opening sentence of his novel Paul Clifford, "it was a dark and stormy night," has become so widely parodied that the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is now held yearly in his name, challenging entrants to write the worst possible opening sentences. more…

difficulty: easy

solved by: Russ Wilhelm, Samir Mehta, LaVonne Lemler, Chris Lemler, Richard Slominsky, Matthew Preston, Erik Bates, and Aaron Shurtleff


Similar Goos

J.K. Rowling

A boy wizard conjured up enough money for this Brit to become the world's first billionaire author. Go »

Walt Whitman

His poetry about grass, lilacs, and calamus made him a major American wit of the 1800s. Go »

Anne Rice

It only takes a minute to cook a vampire. Go »

Valeria Lukyanova

Many girls find Barbie inspirational. One in Ukraine took it rather far. Go »

Ashley Hunter

This St. Louisan didn't get away with mariticide, but she did bump into a quick way to get to the hospital. Go »

Christine Blasey Ford

It's hard to be blasé about sexual assault, especially when the accused is about to join the highest court in the land. Go »

Go for the Gold!

Predict this year's Oscar winners and earn a prize!