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I’ve assembled a group with nine members but you’ll have to guess what their names are.

One letter from each name will spell the name of a 10th group member that everybody talks about but nobody wants to see.

Below are four questions I’ve asked each of the members to give you some clues.

Member 1

Hello, is there anything notable about your parent(s)? ‘Ello! My father was born where they’re known for their sauce.

What about your birth year? I share my birth year with the future king of St James Gate. The greatest princess from Anhalt-Zerbst got a promotion that year as well.

Anything you want the people to know about? When in doubt, use me!

Are you ugly? No

Member 2

Hello, is there anything notable about your parent(s)? Buongiorno! My father was famous enough to get his own museum…150 years after he died!

What about your birth year? The year I was a born two men died: 1) a great kite and mouse enthusiast 2) a magnificent baryton player.

Anything you want the people to know about? I’ve been known to dazzle people when they see me on the internet.

Are you ugly? No

Member 3

Hello, is there anything notable about your parent(s)? Hallo! The place my dad was born held a lot of trials.

What about your birth year? I share a birth year with Mr. 6 Degrees. Don Diego Vega and 2 simple satellites died that same year.

Anything you want the people to know about? Even though Dad had a lot of daughters, he preferred me the best.

Are you ugly? Yes

Member 4

Hello, is there anything notable about your parent(s)? How do you do? The less said about my dad’s personal life, the better.

What about your birth year? I share a birth year with another member in this group. Also born that year, a famous Texan obsessed with time and someone who’s achieved both an EGOT and the Triple Crown.

Anything you want the people to know about? You can find me on the Tube and wherever fine books are sold.

Are you ugly? Yes

Member 5

Hello, is there anything notable about your parent(s)? I’m the only member of this group to have a dad and a mom! My mom’s from considered the fruit basket of the world, my dad is from a place you can celebrate two of three animals Dorothy is afraid of.

What about your birth year? I share a birth year with Hillary Faye and Queen Elizabeth II. Ma Bell died that same year.

Anything you want the people to know about? I’m kind of a big deal in the computer world, both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have hired me to do work.

Are you ugly? Yes and no

Member 6

Hello, is there anything notable about your parent(s)? Grüetzi! At one point my dad wanted to become a pastry chef.

What about your birth year? I share a birth year with a blacklisted bridge film and the opening of a bridge to a great turtle.

Anything you want the people to know about? Dad called me a dinner jacket.

Are you ugly? Yes

Member 7

Hello, is there anything notable about your parent(s)? Hoi zäme! Dad was born in the same town as the museum dedicated to nothing and a Gesamtkunstwerk on a lake shore.

What about your birth year? I share a birth year with The Cat in the Hat, Perry Mason and Connor MacLeod.

Anything you want the people to know about? Love me or hate me I’m everywhere. They even made a documentary about me!

Are you ugly? Yes

Member 8

Hello, is there anything notable about your parent(s)? Bonjour! My father worked in a city where a committee 300 strong wrote a protest letter and you can find a building where 21 roses look down on you.

What about your birth year? The year I was born a Flemish impostor died and a magic concealing book was written.

Anything you want the people to know about? I’m the oldest member of the group. I’ve had some highs (I’m on a first name basis with Super Mario!) and lows (My mother sold me after my father died!)

Are you ugly? No

Member 9

Hello, is there anything notable about your parent(s)? Hiya! The place my father was born, cherry pie only cost ½ a guinea!

What about your birth year? I share a birth year with Plainclothes Tracy, Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock!

Anything you want the people to know about? I come from a big family. My brother (who’s only a year younger than me) gets a lot more press than I do. He was a big deal in the local newspaper scene for a long time.

Are you ugly? No

Clarifications: If you think have the right answers but you have some questions about everything fits together see below.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hi @Gunslinger711, welcome to Puzzling SE! Take the tour if you haven't already! I edited in spoiler blocks to your clarifications to avoid spoiling the solution to potential solvers. Besides that, this is a great first puzzle of yours, and I'm excited to see what you will make in the future :) $\endgroup$ – PiIsNot3 Oct 20 at 7:10
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    $\begingroup$ I think these "clarifications" shouldn't go in the question - maybe as a self-answer or an edit to Gareth's answer? At first glance it seems like they're hints to aid solvers, but anyone looking at them will immediately be spoiled as to what the solution is. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Oct 20 at 14:15
  • $\begingroup$ Agreed. See below, I split it out into my own "answer". $\endgroup$ – Gunslinger711 Oct 21 at 15:07
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Slightly partial answer

I have a few loose ends here, but ... These are

typefaces. I think "ugly" means "sans-serif".

Member 1

is Caslon. William Caslon was born in Worcestershire, known for its sauce. He made many typefaces, and there are many more recent revivals going by his name; I guess we're after one of his early ones, from 1725 when Arthur Guinness (founder of the Guinness brewery at St James' Gate in Dublin) was born, but I'm confused about the princess who is surely Empress Catherine II "the Great" of Russia -- who wasn't born until 1729. Among typesetters you will sometimes hear the saying "When in doubt, use Caslon".

Member 2

is Bodoni. Giambattista Bodoni died in 1813 and 150 years later, in 1963, a museum dedicated to him was opened in Parma. As with Caslon, it's not obvious how to pick a single typeface and year -- the typefaces now called "Bodoni" are of course all later revivals -- but clearly we are looking for 1790 when Benjamin Franklin and Nikolaus I, Prince Esterhazy, died. And, as Wikipedia puts it: "Some digital versions of Bodoni are said to be hard to read due to "dazzle" caused by the alternating thick and thin strokes, particularly as the thin strokes are very thin at small point sizes."

Member 3

is Optima. Herman Zapf was born in Nuremberg. Optima was designed in 1958; in that year Kevin Bacon was born, (the fictional character) Zorro died, and Sputniks 1 and 2 burned up on re-entry into the atmosphere. To quote Wikipedia again: "Zapf wrote later in his life of his preference for Optima over all of his other typefaces, but he also mentioned “a father should not have a favorite among his daughters.”" (The name "Optima", though, wasn't of his choosing.) Optima is a sans-serif face (though it does have nice graceful swelling at its terminals), though I don't think many people would call it ugly.

Member 4

is Gill Sans. As Wikipedia puts it. Eric Gill's "religious views and subject matter are generally viewed as being at odds with his sexual behaviour, including his erotic art and alleged sexual abuse of his daughters, sisters, and dog." I'm confused about the dates, though, because Gill Sans's origins date to 1926-1928 (depending on exactly how you count it) and the EGOT / Triple Crown winner surely must be either Helen Hayes (b. 1900) or Rita Moreno (b. 1931). Probably the latter, because then we share the year with #9. Also, unless I'm confused Gill Sans isn't on the Tube -- that's Johnston, on which Gill Sans was somewhat modelled. It is, though, used for a lot of Penguin book covers.

Member 5

is the whole Lucida family. Kris Holmes is from Reedley, which calls itself "the fruit basket of the world" and Chris Bigelow is from Detroit whose sports teams include the Lions and the Tigers (but, oh my, no Bears so far as I know). The first Lucida fonts were released in 1984 which was also the year of the Bell breakup (so far so good) but Queen Elizabeth II was born in 1926 (perhaps we're after the horse race called the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes, which was first run in 1984?!) and I guess "Hillary Faye" must be Hilary Faye, a character in the movie Saved! played by Mandy Moore, born in 1984. Lucida typefaces are distributed with both Windows PCs and Macs.

Member 6

is Univers. Adrian Frutiger (who did indeed consider training as a pastry chef before becoming an apprentice at a printing house) said "Helvetica is the jeans, Univers is the dinner jacket". Univers was first released in 1957, the same year as the movie The Bridge on the River Kwai (whose writers were on the Hollywood blacklist, though so far as I can tell the movie itself wasn't ever blacklisted anywhere) and the Mackinac Bridge was opened ("Mackinac" comes from the Algonquian name "Michilimackinac" which apparently means "The Great Turtle").

Member 7

is Helvetica. Max Miedinger was born in Zürich, home of the No Show Museum and the Centre Le Corbusier. Helvetica came out in 1957, which was the year of publication of The Cat in the Hat, the year when the first Perry Mason show was broadcast, and the year of birth of the actor who played Connor MacLeod in Highlander. Helvetica is indeed found everywhere (you could say it's Univers-al, b'dum tssh), and is the subject of an eponymous documentary movie.

Member 8

is Garamond. Probably. Claude Garamond worked in Paris and after his death his wife sold off his type; I regret that I haven't identified the protest letter, but the building with 21 roses is the Arc de Triomphe. Identifying a specific typeface and date is even harder here than with Caslon (not least because many of the faces now called "Garamond" aren't even revivals of his typefaces). I really want the year to be 1499 (Perkin Warbeck and Steganographia) but that's before Garamond was even born. There's a character called Garamond in Super Paper Mario, whatever exactly that is.

Member 9

is probably Times New Roman. There is a famous plaque on the wall of a pub in Wanstead where Stanley Morison was born that memorializes, in verse, a cherry pie that cost half a guinea. (I'm not sure the "only" in the question is right; in 1752 that was rather a lot of money.) Times New Roman was commissioned in 1931, when the Dick Tracy comics began and both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy were born (only four days apart). I confess I'm confused by all the business in the question about "my brother"; perhaps TNR is the "brother", since aftr all it gets a lot of press in every sense, but I can't find a good candidate for the older brother if so.

So what's our unpopular tenth? I think it's

COMIC SANS, which typographers love to hate,

each of whose letters

is found within the correspondingly-numbered member: Caslon, Bodoni, Optima, Gill Sans, Lucida, Univers, Helvetica, Garamond, Times New Roman. (If there's any particular pattern to which letter is chosen from each name then I've failed to see it. My guess is that there isn't.)

Things I still don't quite understand:

The dates for Caslon. Is there some more notable princess of A-Z than Catherine the Great?! The dates for Gill Sans. It's got to be 1931, right?, but so far as I can see that just isn't the right date. (Could it be a different Gill face? Joanna is from 1931, but I don't see the Underground connection. And we need an I for Comic Sans.) The blacklisting for TBOTRK for #6; is something other than the writers' blacklisting intended? The Parisian committee with their letter of protest. The year for Garamond. (I really wish it could be 1499.) The "brother" of Times New Roman.

Notes on the solution process:

The big giveaway was #5. First of all, the bit about being the only one with two parents makes it clear (though it was always a likely guess) that our group is a group of things rather than of people. Then it turns out that "fruit basket of the world" refers to a specific place that's obscure enough not to have produced a lot of famous women. As soon as I saw "Kris Holmes, type designer and president of Bigelow & Holmes Inc." on Wikipedia's page about Reedley, the overall shape of the solution was obvious. (And I guessed the same final answer as I ended up with before identifying any of the other individual members :-).)

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    $\begingroup$ Wow! Just wow. :) +1 $\endgroup$ – Duck Oct 20 at 1:16
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    $\begingroup$ First time writing a big multiple part riddle like this, took me two weeks of lunch breaks spent writing and researching and it's solved in three hours. Even with several research errors and ambiguities. (see clarifications/explanations above) Bravo really! And thank you for the section on the insight on your process. I was very curious as to how you cracked it. I look forward to creating more research riddles. $\endgroup$ – Gunslinger711 Oct 20 at 3:52
  • $\begingroup$ It was a fun (though rather long ...) solve. It's very common around here for puzzles to take a long time to create and be solved quickly, or else to be created quickly and solved very slowly :-). My feeling is that this sort of puzzle is probably either solvable fairly quickly or else downright impossible, but we'll see what else you come up with... $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Oct 20 at 11:00
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Made this as a seperate post per suggestion. These are not hints, these are answer clarifications.

Clarifications:

General

In my research I found sans serif fonts also called grotesque fonts. Grotesque means repulsively ugly, hence ugly vs non-ugly fonts.

Member 1

First research error here (I had a feeling there would be a few): It was Catherine I (1725 she became empress of Russia) not Catherine II. 1725 year Caslon reference from several sources including: https://www.myfonts.com/fonts/linotype/caslon-classico/

Member 4

Second research error here: It was indeed Johnston (an Eric Gill collaboration) on The Tube. Worth noting that Gill Sans was used in various British Railways projects, just not The Tube. The year on Gill Sans was hard to pin down, some sources said 1928, some 1930, I picked 1931 based on this source: https://www.linotype.com/1884/gill-sans.html . Rita Moreno makes sense then if we use 1931.

Member 5

My Queen Elizabeth II reference was connected to actress Claire Foy, who plays the aforementioned queen and was born in 1984. That said, I love your level of research that you found another Queen Elizabeth II link to the year 1984!

Member 6

I was indeed talking about the writers of TBontRK being blacklisted, not the movie itself.

Member 8

Research confusion: My reference- https://www.linotype.com/1419/garamond.html . But after reading your comment I found several conflicting sources (Wikipedia for one) concerning what time period Claude Garamond was alive and when Garamond the font (proper) was released.

Member 9

This is the Times (proper) font: https://www.linotype.com/259/times.html . Times New Roman is indeed the older brother (released in 1932 vs Times in 1931). Good historical information on the "half a guinea" line, I had no idea.


Loose ends

"Casual secret" refers to the correctly guess Comic Sans which is a casual script typeface.
The "committee 300 members strong" was a reference to the Committee of 300, who wrote a letter protesting the construction of the Eiffel Tower: https://www.historyextra.com/period/the-vulgar-tower/
The correctly guessed simple satellites were Sputniks 1 & 2. Sputnik loosely translated from Russian means/can mean "simple"
The correctly guessed Benjamin Franklin reference "mouse enthusiast" section is specifically reference the Disney Film "Ben & Me" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_and_Me a film I loved (and still do love) as a kid

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