Fall 2023 News & Notes

We are long overdue for one of these, so this is both quite long and a bit less in the way of commentary.

Rebecca Goldstein, Kate Chin Park, and Stan Park appeared on Boswords alongside John Lieb this week to share the announcement of the new Westwords crossword tournament scheduled for June 23, 2024 in Berkeley CA. They are seeking responses to an interest poll and promise to share more info soon.

The Boswords Fall 2023 Fall Themeless League is underway! Congratulations to Richard D. Allen, whose puzzle was chosen from the open submission process to join the constructor roster that also includes Catherine Cetta, Jill Denny & Jeff Chen, Sam Ezersky, May Huang, Tom Pepper, Ross Trudeau, Amie Walker, and Grace & Greg Warrington. Registration is still open. Boswords T-shirts are also now available at the link above.

Congratulations to Glen Ryan, the winner of the 2023 Bryant Park Tournament and to 2nd and 3rd place finishers Dan Schwartz and Ken Stern.

Congratulations to the winners of Lollapuzzoola 16: Express Division winner Will Nediger and 2nd and 3rd place finalists Dan Schwartz and Jenna LaFleur; Local Division winner Simon Henriques and 2nd and 3rd place finalists Reuben Henriques and Will Eisenberg; Pairs winners Pete & Claire Rimkus and 2nd and 3rd place pairs Madison Clague & Sam Ezersky and Scott Koenig & Peter Aquino. The solve-at-home pdf puzzle pack is still available for $20 at the link above.

The Apple News Crossword is live. Ross Trudeau, Puzzles Editor, promises a modern approach to crosswords that is more welcoming to newcomers. Puzzles are edited by Erik Agard, Kelsey Dixon, and Anna Gundlach and constructed by some of our favorite puzzlemakers in the business. Apple News+ subscribers can read the full release here and access the puzzles here.

Matt Gaffney has a new weekly crossword feature appearing at Merriam-Webster’s website. It’s a puzzle type called “The Missing Letter” created especially for the site: 25 entries in the grid are defined using their M-W dictionary definitions, and these each begin with a different letter of the alphabet. The only one not represented each week is “The Missing Letter,” and solvers can enter it for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate at their site.

We’re happy to share Enigmatology, a newsletter from puzzlemaker and magician David Kwong. Issues contain crossword puzzles, cryptic clue contests, and more.

Mark Halpin’s annual Labor Day pack, “Two on the Isle,” the theme of which is “elemental forces at work in the Hawaiian islands” is a collection of 13 puzzles leading to a meta puzzle and solution. While the puzzle pack is free, any donations are split between the Trevor Project and the Maui Strong Fund.

Chriswords is a new weekly column from Chris King published in Questionist by Geeks Who Drink. In each edition, Chris shares some of his favorite clues from across the puzzle landscape and bits of news about other happenings in crossworld.

Thanks to Will Nediger, we’ve learned that Crossword Club will begin offering weekly crosswords with mini themes. Puzzles are written by Kate Chin Park and will be released Wednesday afternoons.

The New York Times is accepting applications for the next class of the Diverse Crossword Constructor Fellowship through November 10.

Defector, a worker cooperative website focused on sports and culture, has begun offering crosswords through a collaboration with AVCX. The first puzzle by Paolo Pasco was quite well-received. Puzzles are edited by Hoang-Kim Vu and Maitreyi Anantharaman and open for submissions.

Amuselabs now supports Schrodinger puzzles. We’ve seen this in action a few times: a fantastic New Yorker from Andy Kravis, as well as Rich Iurilli’s blog, Morning Brew, and Xtra.

In a tweet, Amanda Rafkin shared that USA Today now has an open submission period for the first seven days of each month. All constructors may submit up to two puzzles during each period.

Brooke Husic and Enrique Henestroza Anguiano have released another update to Spread the Wordlist. The list now stands at 296,625 words. This is one of the best resources in all of crossworld; we continue to appreciate Brooke and Enrique for their work.

Congratulations to the team of constructors chosen to lead Lil AVC X in 2024: Rafael Musa, Olivia Mitra Framke, Will Eisenberg, and Sally Hoelscher. We are looking forward to the people and puzzles to be developed under their guidance. We hear the call for constructors will be coming soon! Follow them on twitter and bluesky for more.

In September, Jeff Chen and Jim Horne announced the pending closure of XWord Info. We at DCL want to express our appreciation Jeff and Jim’s many years of dedication to XWI as well as all of those who have contributed to the many tools and features. Jim shared a few details in this blog post about what will stay and what will go, and he appeared on episode 407 of Fill Me In where he told the story of how we got here, including a rundown on how dealings with NYT fell apart.

In an interview for In the Studio from BBC News, Robyn Weintraub walks through her process for constructing an a crossword for The New York Times.

Rachel Fabi, writing for the October 2023 issue of Games World of Puzzles, interviewed Stella Zawistowski about her work editing, constructing, and speed solving. The issue includes a puzzle from Stella’s book, “Tough as Nails Crosswords.”

Harper’s Magazine published an audio interview with long-time cryptic constructor Richard Maltby Jr. in which he discusses the history of the puzzle, the decline in the use of dictionaries, and rise in word puzzle fascination.

Linguistic researchers Scott AnderBois, Kyle Mahowald, and Nicholas Tomlin wrote on the grammar of crosswords for The Atlantic.

New York Times editors Tracy Bennett and Sam Ezersky appeared on a recent episode of Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. The episode from October 1 is available on Peacock – Sam and Tracy appear a few times throughout at the beginning of each segment.

In books, Anna Shechtman’s “Riddles of the Sphinx: Inheriting the Feminist History of the Crossword Puzzle” is available for pre-order. We also learned of Francis Heaney’s pair of throwback books: “New Grids on the Block: Hella ’90s Crosswords” coming in November and “Grids Just Wanna Have Fun: Awesome ’80s Crosswords” due out in March.

Congratulations to everyone who has made debuts since our last issue!

Los Angeles Times: Landon Horton (8/11), Amanda Cook (8/29), Jimmy Peniston (9/2), Marin Wells (9/4), Andrew Kingsley (9/4), Meghan Morris (9/10), Jay Silverman (9/11), Brynn Diehl (9/16), Zach Moore (9/19), Jess Rucks (9/30)

USA Today: Alice Liang (8/8), Sally Hoelscher (8/14), Tooky Kavanagh (8/16), Darby Ratliff (8/24), Amie Walker (8/31), Emma Lawson (9/7), Jess Shulman (9/13), Taylor Johnson (9/14), Emily Carroll (9/15), Jasmeet Arora (9/18), Adam H. Mack (9/21), Natasha Isloor (9/29)

New York Times: John Kugelman (7/30), David Litman (7/31), Alissa Revness (8/7), Manaal Mohammed (8/13), David P. Williams (8/19), Jay Silverman (8/22), Brian Callahan (8/28), Michèle Govier (8/29), Robert S. Gard (9/9), David A. Rubin (9/15), Lee Demertzis (9/15), Jill Rafaloff (9/17), Michelle Sontarp (9/17), Gina Turner (9/20), Robert Charlton (9/23), Shannon Rapp (9/26), Scott Koenig (9/27), Ahmed Bayoumi (9/30), Jeffrey Lease (10/1), Alexandria Mason (10/2) Troy Laedtke (10/3)

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