When you join the League, you may choose a nom de plume, or “nom” for short. Though it’s not required, most of our members use a nom, and we address each other by noms in correspondence and conversation. The tradition of adopting noms in puzzle clubs is a very old one, predating even the League itself. Practically, noms serve as the best of all possible nicknames, for each of us can choose our own. Symbolically, noms allow all puzzlers to meet as equals, free of the titles and social distinctions that the outside world may demand. An eighteen-year-old student can address a fifty-year-old neurosurgeon without wondering if it’s “First Name” or “Dr. Last Name”. Our noms are the only introduction needed to NPL members all over the world.

Members have settled on their noms in countless ways. When making a new acquaintance in the League, a good conversation starter is to ask the meaning of their nom. Some members simply choose a favorite nickname. Others adopt the names of literary or historical characters. Some noms are words that have personal significance. Some involve anagrams or reversals, and several are derived by methods of breathtaking complexity. And a few members have excited curiosity by politely declining to explain their noms at all.

Once you join, you can access the members-only section of the website, which includes a cumulative membership list with every nom since the NPL’s inception.

You do not have to choose a nom before you join the League. When you choose a nom, inform the treasurer, who will verify that the nom is appropriate and doesn’t duplicate an existing one. The treasurer will forward your nom selection to the editor, who will announce it in The Enigma.

When corresponding with other members and the editors via postal mail, use real names on envelopes. Don’t count on letter carriers realizing that Plum Pudding is the nom of Ms. Walker in Apt. 4.