I did take the nom Squonk when I joined for a year in 1990. When I went to grad school in Baltimore a few years later, Hopkins' spring break nicely meshed with the Stamford crossword tournament so I went to that. I had a great time and pretty much decided that I would go to the New York con later that year. However, I'll give credit to Tyger telling me on the train back to NYC that I really should join the NPL.
Source: npl-folk email from Squonk.
A squonk is a mythical bird. The word came up in a game of Balderdash and completely stumped everyone. Since it's an unusual word, and sounds somewhat like my real first name, I chose it as my nom.