I believe I first heard about the NPL at my first Stamford tournament, which was March 1991. The existence of the NPL is always announced to the assembled masses there. I didn't join at that time, though. Of course, I heard about it again when I went back to Stamford in March 1992. It was just after that 1992 tournament that WILLz recruited me for an actual job as an editor at Games. (He offered me the job on April 1. I made him swear it wasn't a joke.) I believe I was trying to decide whether to join the NPL, brought it up with WILLz, and he said it would be a good idea for me as a puzzle editor. So if you want to say WILLz recruited me, that would probably be appropriate. I may have discussed it with others at the time, but who remembers?
First Issue: Jan 1992
I was casting around for something, and was seriously considering Toying Damsel, which is a lovely anagram of my name that I'd come up with in the past (my name has such wonderful letters for anagramming, I always say it's one of the reasons I didn't change it when I got married). It seemed a little clunky, though. I had already been hired by Games Magazine and was due to start work there soon when Helene had a puzzle party to which I was invited. (As it happens, I lived in Princeton at the time, as did Helene.) I was looking at someone's Games T-shirt (my own new one? I can't even remember that!), with its five capitalized boxed letters, when it struck me that “GAMES” consisted of Ames, a common nickname for Amy (actually used sometimes by my parents), preceded by the initial of my last name! G,Ames, then, was like a short version of Goldstein, Amy–that's why the G and the A must be capitalized. (Contrary to the confused understanding of some, the “mes” need not necessarily be lowercase.) The pronunciation is “Gee-Ames,” which goes with the meaning. Sure, it looks like Games, that's the point, but it's not said that way. When I lost my job at Games last year, along with pretty much the rest of the staff, several people asked if I was changing my nom. No way! It was never really about Games Magazine, just games in the general sense.