In early 1997 I was looking for places that would publish variety cryptics, the market for which seems to worsen by the hour. The Enigma was listed as a source of cryptics in one of the appendices of Hex's excellent Random House Guide to Cryptic Crosswords. I quickly sent a cryptic to Sibyl (she was still listed as the current editor). I wasn't online so I sent by snail mail; that, combined possibly with the changing editorship, led alas to the submission's being lost in the mail. I resent the puzzle 3 months later–this time got a friendly apologetic reply from Sibyl, explaining that I should sent to Hot and Trazom and also that I needed to be a member to be published in the NPL (which I did not know). I sent for a third time to Trazom, and also joined the NPL. Got an enthusiastic reply explaining that the August issue was due out in something like 2 minutes and I had better hurry and call him if I wanted to be in the magazine. I called him at once, interrupting his dinner, and we reworked a few problem clues
write right there over the phone, and happily the result became TRIBUTE (Aug. '97).
Within a week or two of my joining, I received several welcoming letters, including one from Kegler, who lives just 17 minutes from my house. In no time I was attending the parties, where I met Panache, Manache, Bluff, Rastelli, Fuldu and others.
I had to grab hold of a nom quickly as well, and with the clock ticking I chose “Bartok” simply because he is my favorite composer and I often play his works (I'm a sometime pianist). I suppose you could make some wordplay out of it (“Barr talk” homonym?), but it's really as simple as that.