The first printing does not have an interior list, but at least three examples have surfaced which have an interior list. Farah has not yet determined which variant is the true first printing. Regardless, it is important to note that some have a list and some do not. The interior list ends with The Mystery of the 99 Steps.
Buyers who have questioned sellers about Crossword Cipher have received incorrect answers in several cases. In two cases, buyers asked about the last title listed on the back cover and received the answer as Pine Hill, which would indicate a first printing. Both buyers received books that listed to Crossword Cipher, which is two titles past Pine Hill. How did both sellers make that mistake?
I wondered whether the seller could have looked at the interior list, if one was present, and come up with 99 Steps. I asked for clarification and explained that the book could not list to 99 Steps on the back cover. I received this answer:
The very last title listed on the back of book #44 - other than the books [sic] own title - is The Mystery of the 99 Steps. You are the 6th person that has asked me that. What is the significance of the last title on the back of this book?This seller made the same mistake that I have seen other sellers make when the last title listed is the same as the title of the book. For some reason, many sellers think that when the very last title listed is the same as the title of the book that what we really want is the next-to-last title listed. This is frustrating. If we wanted the next-to-last title, then we would have asked for it. If we state that we want the last title, then we want the last title, regardless of what that title is.
The seller told me that I was the sixth person who had asked about the last title. She could have saved herself from having to answer the question five additional times by selecting the box that allows the question and answer to appear on the auction page. If a seller ends up with multiple buyers asking the same question, then that seller should figure out that this information is important and needs to be in the description.
I still haven't figured out how two different sellers mistakenly stated that the last title was Pine Hill when it was in fact Crossword Cipher. I have wondered whether they could have looked at the interior list and given the next-to-last title, which would have been Pine Hill. The problem is that both sellers would had to have looked in the wrong place for the list and then made the mistake of not giving the last title in the list. This seems improbable.
Clearly, many collectors will have a hard time acquiring a first printing of Crossword Cipher, not only because of the scarcity, but because many sellers fail to answer questions correctly.