I actually first joined in 1990. Val-U was a guidance counselor in the elementary school that occupied the first floor of my high school building. I constructed the crossword puzzles for the high school newspaper, and (I think) she got her hands on the puzzles, and then got in touch with me to invite me to a get-together of Krewe members at her house. I did join, but found the puzzles in The Enigma intimidatingly difficult. Fast forward seven years. I moved back to New York City and ran into Al DeSuda at a crossword tournament at Barnes and Noble. I had never considered solving competitively, but found that I enjoyed the time constraints and trying to improve my performance. So Al DeSuda persuades me to go to Stamford, which was a blast. While I was there, many Krewe members were telling me about the NPL, mostly about how much fun the conventions are. I renewed my membership, one of the best decisions I've made in a long time. ConGA was amazing, and now that I am older and (my critics may dispute this) wiser, I hold my own solving the flats in The Enigma, and have a much greater appreciation for all the brilliant, sophisticated, nuances. I've even given composing my own flats a whirl, so I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
In coming up with a nom, I first started by playing with the letters and the sounds of “nom”. Having dabbled in linguistics in college, I became influenced by the writings of Noam Chomsky. And since the NPL is a group that appreciates the complexity and the elegance of language and wordplay, it seemed an appropriate choice. What's more interesting than the origin, though, is the multitude of interpretations it seems to elicit. I don't quibble over pronunciations, though I've heard both mono- and bi-syllabic (I prefer the former, but am not a stickler for propriety). One Krewe member (Panache, I think) thought it was an anagram of “a nom” (which I didn't think of at the time, but is a nice reading). Kibbee thought it was a rebus for NO A.M. Very insightful, but I am definitely a morning person. Another still thought it was an anagram of “moan” (I'm not touching this one).