Fiendish Lovecraftian New Year’s Eve Trivia Quiz: the answers…

1. What was the name of the talented Lovecraft correspondent who went on to write Green Lantern comic book stories in the 1940s?

   A: Henry Kuttner, who took over writing Green Lantern when Alfred Bester departed DC Comics. Kuttner was credited as “Lewis Padgett” by DC (somewhat similar to Lovecraft’s own pseudonyms Lewis Theobald and Henry Paget-Lowe, though there is evidence to suggest the similarity was a co-incidence).

2. What was the name of the long-lived street cat Lovecraft often met, when he walked into the centre of Providence?

   A: “Old Man”. “I first knew him as a youngish cat in 1906” wrote Lovecraft. His Commonplace Book of story ideas recorded an unused 1928 story germ featuring Old Man: “153. Black cat on hill near dark gulf of ancient inn yard. Mew hoarsely — invites artist to nighted mysteries beyond. Finally dies at advanced age. Haunts dreams of artist — lures him to follow — strange outcome (never wakes up? or makes bizarre discovery of an elder world outside 3-dimensioned space?)”.

3. Atop what type of structure did Lovecraft climb in 1925, to observe the distant towers of New York City being plunged into a great solar eclipse?

   A: An aqueduct. Lovecraft rose at 3.30am on the freezing morning of 24th January 1925, to trek to the vantage point. He later remembered it as a “marrow-congealing ordeal”, because of the cold. Most likely the location was the Old Croton Aqueduct in north Yonkers, built 1837-1842. A local girl recalled that… “From its sweeping curves and unobstructed lookout points strollers enjoyed spectacular sunsets over the Hudson River and the Palisades. One day an artist set up his easel on the path above our house, and we were fascinated to watch him record on canvas the view we took so much for granted. It was from the vantage point of the aqueduct that I watched with my family the total eclipse of the sun in 1934.” (New York Times, 11th October 1981). Poe had made the aqueduct a favourite walk, and if Lovecraft had known this then the aqueduct would have had an added attraction…

Poe_Walking_on_the_High_Bridge“Poe Walking on the High Bridge” by B.J. Rosenmeyer.

dottedMap of the aqueduct (dotted line) running through Yonkers and into New York City.

4. What was Lovecraft’s membership-card number for the UAPA?

   A: 1945c.

5. In 1935 Lovecraft and Barlow designed faux letterhead stationery, for which fictional Lovecraft character?

   A: Randolph Carter.

6. Lovecraft once received in the mail a copy of the Fourty-Sixth Anniversary edition of the journal “The Lovecrafter” (1936). When did this journal start its run?

   A: 1936, as that was the only issue, it being a 46th birthday present to Lovecraft from Shepherd and Wollheim.

7. The convivial Kappa Alpha Tau society, for which Lovecraft composed poetry and song, regularly met together at which prestigious venue in Providence?

   A: A large shed roof in the garden of “The Paxton” at 53 Waterman Street, a retirement home that backed onto 66 College St. Lovecraft often “borrowed” some of the many cats that sunned themselves on this shed roof, and named them the Kappa Alpha Tau (KAT), a humourous allusion to an adjacent college fraternity house.