Her real name was Doris Dungey, and for anyone who follows the economics-oriented Web site Calculated Risk, she was an influential and often acerbic chronicler of the mortgage collapse. Dungey wrote under the "Tanta" pseudonym because she had hoped to return to the mortgage business. From the NYT obit:
Tanta used her extensive knowledge of the loan industry to comment, castigate and above all instruct. Her fans ranged from the Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times who cited her in his blog, to analysts at the Federal Reserve, who cited her in a paper on “Understanding the Securitization of Subprime Mortgage Credit.”
Kind of ironic to see the Times give her such plaudits, considering that she was merciless in tearing apart the work of NYT columnist and assistant business and financial editor Gretchen Morgenson.
The rest of the time, Tanta liked to chew on the follies of regulators, the idiocies of lenders and — a particular favorite — clueless reporters, which according to her was just about all of them. She did not approve, she once wrote, of “parading one’s ignorance about mortgages in an article full of high-minded tut-tutting over ignorance about mortgages.”
Frankly, I thought she went way over the top in her beefs about Morgenson and other reporters. But there's no denying the following she picked up, especially after the mortgage implosion really began to be felt. Dungey was 47 and the cause of death was overian cancer.