The Big Dipper Looks Down Upon Us from between the Stars

by a bunch of stargazers

See the ladle just above the treetops? That's him, that's the Big Dipper.

It was just a year ago that I called your attention to the plight of Pitt and his admirable wife Radonna who had started a fundraiser to try and turn the tables on their financial and medical struggles. I knew him only from his column in the Zine, but somehow his pen name, the Big Dipper, has always resonated with me. It was an occasion to go through all that he had written and discover his wit and humor, his talent to entertain, his big heart. Some of this will never die.


Now it's your turn to experience the same, as I'll start with an overview of all the articles he wrote for your favorite magazine, beginning with the very first issue of the Zine. Yes, he's one of the pioneers. Commentary by Manus Hand.

The Big Dipper Looks at The Black Sea (Spring 1995 Movement)
Pitt's regular appearances will concern themselves with in-depth discussions on the various locales on the board. His topic this first issue is that favorite of all resort sites, The Black Sea.

The Big Dipper Looks at Shift Variants (Winter 1995 Adjustment)
Pitt's triumphant return to The Pouch is marked by an insightful discussion of the shift-left and shift-right variants, in which you must fight your way home while watching your back.

The Big Dipper Looks at the Payola Variant (Spring 1996 Movement)
Pitt tackles the Payola variant. And I swear I didn't pay him. Or even suggest it!

The Big Dipper Looks at Switzerland (Spring 1996 Retreat)
Pitt resumes his in-depth look at the various locations on the standard board. His choice this time, though, might surprise you!

The Big Dipper Looks Back at World DipCon VI (Fall 1996 Movement)
In addition to the many other reports on World DipCon, Pitt's regular column this issue puts you right into the action. Share the heat of the battle with him on his successful drive for the Cup! (Reprinted in this issue.)

The Big Dipper Looks Back at the Asia Variant (Winter 1996 Adjustment)
The reigning world champion analyzes the judges' "Asia" variant, giving you his opinions on the map, the playability of the powers, and even some suggestions for a new Asia.

The Big Dipper Looks at Face-to-Face and E-Mail Play (Spring 1997 Retreat)
As scholarly as they come, here's Pitt's dissertation that earned him his recently-awarded Doctorate of Diplomacy. This article focuses on the differences between PBEM and FTF Diplomacy.


A short selection of reactions to his passing. We'll add more as they come, or keep them for the Pouch Deposits in the next issue.

Tery Noseworthy:

For those of you who are not friends with Radonna on Facebook I wanted to let you know that Pitt Crandlemire passed away earlier this evening. As many of you know he has been suffering from declining health for several years; he decided recently to stop all treatment and come home with hospice care.

Pitt was a great boardgamer and an even better friend. I am glad he is no longer suffering, but I am incredibly sad to have lost such a good friend. I know many of you knew him, and I wanted to be sure you heard the news.

~ T.N.

Edi Birsan:

Pitt was the only player to originate from the Email hobby to then go to his first World Championship and win… I think it was also his first Face to Face Tournament.

He later became frustrated with the meta-gaming that occurs at some tournaments and pulled back from the circuit. I believe he was a private investigator for much of his time in the hobby.

~ E.B.
Concord, CA

David Norman:

The first overseas Diplomacy Tournament I ever went to was WDC in Sweden in 1997. I went, not because I wanted to play at WDC, but because I'd got to know Vince Mous, Manus Hand and Pitt through the online community, and it seemed like a good place for us to all meet up in person…

My understanding from Pitt was that it wasn't meta-gaming, so much as the attitude in every game of "he's a World Champion, we have to kill him before he kills all of us". He just got fed up of being killed every time.

He was indeed a P.I. We had some interesting discussions about it at WDC – including the four of us discussing whether all guns should be banned – an interesting, but rather one-sided discussion, given you had Manus and Pitt (both American, and Pitt was licenced to carry concealed weapons) and me (3 family members have competed internationally at rifle shooting).

~ D.N.
Trowbridge, UK

Simon Szykman:

Very sad news… Pitt was a great guy and a true gentleman.

~ S.S.

Alliance of friends

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