An aide to Gov. Harry R. Hughes disclosed yesterday that there is no Gov. Harry R. Hughes anymore - at least not officially.

Gene Oishi, the governor's press secretary, said his boss's official name has been changed to just plain Gov. Harry Hughes. According to Oishi, the "R" was dropped recently in an effort to conserve energy.

"The governor got kind of tired writing all those 'R's' in the middle of his signature," said Oishi "He signs a heckuva lot of papers and documents, and he decided that his hand wouldn't get so tired if he dropped the 'R' and made it 'Harry Hughes.'"

The case of the missing "R" (which stands for Roe, Hughes' maternal grandfather) was first discovered when a reporter noticed that the governor's middle initial was erased with correction fluid in a recent state press release from the Department of Economic and Community Development. The Associated Press accused Hughes of a "cover-up" - a charge that he vehemently denied, saying it was "absolutely ridiculous."

Oishi conceded, however, that Hughes ordered the Department of Transportation to stop the press run of 1 million state road maps about one-quarter of the way through and had the remaining 750,000 maps printed with "Gov. Harry Hughes" instead of "Gov. Harry R. Hughes." But according to Oishi, the change in the maps was not ordered to accomodate the governor's shorter name, but rather to change his picture.

"The first picture was fuzzy," said Oishi.