The latest in book news the week of October 12, 1990 -- The new restrictions on the cartoon ''The Quigmans'' and David Letterman's compilation of top ten lists

Warp and Woof
Buddy Hickerson is being watched. The Los Angeles Times Syndicate, which sends his twisted daily cartoon, The Quigmans, to some 70 newspapers, has restricted him to two fat jokes per month.

Hickerson has a gift for panels in dubious taste. ”Terrorist’s Birthday” featured one Arab saying to another, ”Abdul! Make a wish and blow up the cake!” On another occasion he enraged some veterans with a particularly bad pun: ”On 12/7/41, the Japanese attacked Pearl’s barber.”

If Hickerson plays rough, he doesn’t spare himself. The Quigmans frequently features Bob, a man so downtrodden he takes a job as a speed bump. ”Bob is sort of the failings of me wrapped in one fellow,” Hickerson says. Actually, he admits, his characters are ”just pawns in a humor chess game.” If so, he just got checkmated in Albuquerque.”I was canceled there because I made too many old-people jokes.”

List But Not Least?
”Like Watching TV in Convenient Book Form!” If that idea appeals to you — and Pocket Books hopes it does — then you’ll want to rush right out and pick up a copy of The ”Late Night With David Letterman” Book of Top Ten Lists, which includes such outré favorites as Top Ten Mother’s Day Gifts Available in Times Square and Top Ten Elf Pick-Up Lines. In case you go to bed early and don’t know what this is all about, here, created especially for ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY by the Letterman crew, is a list you won’t find in the $8.95 paperback: Top Ten Books That Should Never Get Published.

10. A Special Kind of Beauty: Nude Studies of Game-Show Hosts
9. Billy Dee Williams Talks to Young People About Malt Liquor
8. General Electric’s Guide to Cooking with Light Bulbs
7. 1,001 Amish Zingers and Put-Downs
6. How to Keep From Licking Yourself on Camera, by Spuds MacKenzie
5. Arthur Frommer’s Guide to Sitting Around the House in Your Shorts
4. Miss Manners’ Guide to Mob Violence Do’s and Don’ts
2. Dan Quayle’s Big Book of Things You Can Make With Paper Clips
1. The Sonnets of Shemp