Crossworld News & Notes: March Update

The Orcas have returned! An homage to the year in puzzles posted on Diary of a Crossword Fiend, the 2022 awards went to: Hanh Huynh for Best Easy Crossword, Kate Chin Park & Chandi Deitmer for Best Freestyle Crossword, David Steinberg for Best Sunday-Sized Crossword, Francis Heaney for Best Gimmick Crossword, Bryant White for Best Clue, and Brooke Husic for Constructor of the Year. Congratulations to everyone!

Team Orca is recruiting new members for 2023. Want your voice heard? Apply here.

These Puzzl3s Fund Abortion, the third annual TPFA pack organized by Rachel Fabi and co-edited by Rachel, Brooke Husic, and Claire Rimkus, is here!

We’re also happy to share news of Puzzles for Democracy, a fundraiser for Common Cause organized by Eric Berlin with puzzles from a great line up of constructors too long to list here.

Puzzles from the second annual St. Louis Crossword Puzzle Tournament by Patrick Blindauer, Shannon Rapp, and Christopher Adams are now available as a pack for only $4.99. Congratulations to co-champions Derek Allen and Zach Nahlik.

The Puzzle Society continues to increase its breadth of puzzles and word games. A recent addition called Squared Away consists of a pair of mini grids with a mismatched clue list in which the solver determines which clues go with which grid. The puzzle style was created by Amanda Rafkin and the daily offerings are written by Taylor Johnson and Matthew Stock.

Since the last News & Notes, Gia Bosko (2/28), Malaika Handa (3/2), Miranda Kany (3/8), Michael B. Berg (3/15), and Carter Cobb (3/17) made their NYT debuts and Nancy Serrano-Wu (2/28), Tom Pepper (3/1), and Bruce Haight (3/13) made their USAT debuts. Congratulations to everyone!

We appreciated this thread of musings from Erik Agard on the responsibility of constructors and editors to bring purposefulness into crosswords.

As a piece of the same conversation, we recommend this essay from meatdaddy, “Language as an Object, but Make it Themeless” on the “junk-drawer-ification” of some culturally significant words that have become common crossword fill:

What are we, as constructors, saying when we put these in grids at an orthographic level and don’t take the effort to flesh out the clues to provide culturally-sensitive context at a semantic level? What are we, as solvers, saying when we throw these into puzzles without fully reading the curt clues or understanding these words in a larger, cultural context?

Black Crossword by Juliana Pache continues to collect praises, this time in Huffpost’s “Black Crossword Is Celebrating The Culture In A Simple And Impactful Way

We recently discovered this article from late last year from The Daily Princetonian, “On diversity in crosswords: Sitting down with New York Times constructor Yacob Yanos ’15” which also touches on the impact that Kameron Austin Collins’ 2015 XWordInfo essay has had on the crossword community.

A new piece from Deb Amlen for Wordplay, “How to Change Up Your Gameplay With New Twists” encourages solvers to break out of the comfort level and up their skills with tips for games from the NYT’s offerings.

Our next edition will be Sunday, 2 April, from ACPT weekend in Stamford, CT. Hopefully we’ll see you there!

Late February Crossworld News & Notes

The Inkubator has announced it will cease operations at the end of 2023 in an email to subscribers:

After much careful thought, the Inkubator team has made the decision that 2023 will be our last year as a subscription service. We’ve had a wonderful four years with your support, surpassing our original goal of spending two years publishing new and emerging women and nonbinary constructors.

The Inkubator will continue as a community of constructors, and we’re excited for future directions and collaborations. In the meantime, we’re extending our current deadline for submissions until February 15, and we have an excellent slate of puzzles lined up for the next few weeks. We look forward to solving together with all of you this year.

We have a close relationship with the Inkubator team and offer our gratitude for both a great run and their leadership in the community. It has moved the needle, without a doubt.

A lovely piece from Liz Maynes-Aminzade at The New Yorker, “Will Shortz’s Life in Crosswords,” covers Will’s long career in puzzles. From all of us at DCL, echoing the sentiments we’ve heard from across the crossword community, we’re happy for Will for coming out publicly and finding love at 70.

ACPT is only five weeks away! We look forward to seeing many of you there. For those who can’t attend, the Virtual Tournament sponsored by Amuse Labs is an affordable way to participate and compete from afar. It includes live streams of all the tournament puzzles as well as other in-person events.

Congratulations to Paolo Pasco, winner of the Boswords Winter Wondersolve, and to second and third place finishers Will Nediger and Tyler Hinman. Congrats also to Frisco and Chauffeur, who won the Blizzard pairs division, Brian Lipinski, winner of the Flurry individual division, and Kristy and Wendy Gardner, winners of the Flurry pairs division.

Congratulations to Matthew Luter, whose puzzle was chosen through the open submission process to join the Boswords Spring Themeless League. The League begins with the preseason puzzle this Monday, February 27. A new practice puzzle from Chandi Deitmer and John Lieb is available for free.

In even more Boswords news, the annual summer tournament is now set for Sunday, July 23, with both in-person and virtual options.

These Puzzl3s Fund Abortion, the third annual TPFA pack organized by Rachel Fabi and co-edited by Rachel, Brooke Husic, and Claire Rimkus, is coming this spring in time for the 2023 NNAF Fund-a-Thon. We are excited about this year’s all-star constructor lineup and look forward to their puzzles.

We’re pleased to share that Grids for Kids has raised over $6,000 for youth charities so far, including The Trevor Project and No Kid Hungry. Written and edited by constructors who are also parents, it includes 17 standard crosswords with family-friendly themes, 2 cryptic puzzles, and 6 puzzles for younger solvers. Make a donation of at least $10 USD to receive the puzzles.

Since the last News & Notes, Nijah Morris (2/12), Kavin Pawittranon (2/12), Eric Rollfing (2/13), and Sean Ziebarth (2/15) made their NYT debuts. Congratulations to everyone!

On the February 10 episode, “Cut to Wabbit Season,” of the Crossnerds podcast with Brooke Husic and Rebecca Neipris, Brooke discusses the expansion of the Lil AVC X editing team, the importance of the constructor-editor relationship in cultivating a better solving experience, and (the lack of) gender diversity in The New York Times crossword.

Creating Crossword Puzzles” is a course taught by Brooke Husic and Natan Last in cooperation with Atlas Obscura. The next offering of the course begins March 28 with four weekly sessions over Zoom. The content is intended for very new constructors and those who are interested in how crosswords are made. Reduced price tickets are available. Puzzles constructed by previous classes are available for solving from Atlas Obscura: “Marvel, Extended Universe” and “Alpha and Omega.”

It’s been a while since we’ve mentioned Spread the Wordlist by Brooke Husic and Enrique Henestroza Anguiano, but now is a good time as the most recent quarterly update includes some structural changes to simplify the wordlist for constructors. It also surpassed 100,000 entries scored at 50+ for the first time. This is a fabulous free resource for new and veteran constructors alike, and we’re grateful to Brooke and Enrique for their continued work on it.

A Community of Crosswords” in the latest issue of Barnard Magazine comprises three short but delightful conversations with alums Rebecca Goldstein, Rebecca Gray, and Gustie Owens about their work in crosswords.

In the NYT Gameplay article “A Puzzle Maker Aims to Unite Black Communities in 25 Squares” by Deb Amlen, Juliana Pache speaks about her mission to inspire communities from across the Black diaspora to learn more about each other. Juliana publishes a free daily mini at Black Crossword, with plans to expand.

We may have mentioned it before, but it’s been a minute: Cross Your Heart by Laura Effinger-Dean is a free, open-source Android app for crossword solving, with lots of features such as downs-only mode, autocheck, pen/pencil toggle, scrambled puzzle support, and an undo button. Supports .puz files only.

The February issue of GAMES World of Puzzles features a Q&A with puzzlemaker Fred Piscop, who shares info about his new book, “The Healthy Brain Book of Word Puzzles.” The book includes Split Decisions (R) and plenty of other great puzzles.

We’ve added a few new sources to our daily list recently: Check out puzzles from Boston Magazine by Brendan Emmett Quigley, Barron’s, and The Hindu Cryptic. We’re also watching a handful of new-to-us college newspapers: Amherst, Rice, Columbia, Penn, and Michigan.

We’d like to remind everyone that the ability to download and print NYT variety and acrostic puzzles will be discontinued on February 26, and they’ll be removed from the archive beginning March 1—so solve, print, and save them while we still can.

We want to hear from you! If you have an idea about something you’d like to see us offer or have feedback about any of our features, please let us know.

Crossworld News & Notes: February

Available this weekend, Grids for Kids is a pack of 25 puzzles to raise money for kids’ charities. Written and edited by an all-star team of constructors who are parents, it includes 17 standard crosswords with family-friendly themes, 2 cryptic puzzles, and 6 puzzles for younger solvers. Try out the free sample puzzle, “Growth Chart” by Matt Forest and Sally Hoelscher. Make a donation of at least $10 USD to receive the puzzles. More details at

It’s getting to be tournament time again: not too late to register for the online Boswords Winter Wondersolve tomorrow, 5 February, from 1:30-4:00 Eastern. Registration and hotel availability remain open for the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Stamford, CT, March 31-April 2.

As mentioned in our editorial last night addressing the New York Times’ decision to pull acrostics, cryptics, other variety puzzles, and their 20-plus year archives from online access, Alex Boisvert has started an acrostic subscription service on Patreon, promising two puzzles a month. A welcome post and a sample puzzle is available. Alex’s site, Crossword Nexus also offers a tool to help build acrostics and an online solver applet that can present most common puzzles directly in-browser.

Readers may or may not be familiar with T Campbell’s Ubercross projects: think massive grids with grid art. Whatever you’re thinking, you’re probably undershooting it. Over the course of this year, T is unveiling his latest project: Ubercross Abecedaria, a series of 26 Ubercross puzzles, one for each letter of the alphabet, that knit together into a single connected puzzle.

Due to their size, the Abecedaria tiles are .pdf only, but T is also releasing bite-sized puzzles for each letter. Alternating between the two, a new puzzle comes each Wednesday. We’re hoping to have more from T in his own words in a future edition of News & Notes.

Cryptic streamers Will Nediger, Al Saunders, and Hayley Gold’s next edition comes in two weeks, a “Post-Valentine’s Valentine episode full of LOVEly cryptics” on Friday, 17 February at 9:00 PM Eastern with setters Nathan Curtis, Saroota, and Joeadultman at

The New York Times announced the second cohort of the Diverse Crossword Constructor Fellowship. Congrats to Mary, Esha, Isabella, Alice, Manaal, and Gina!

Since the last News & Notes, Lindsay McBride (1/18), Robert S. Greenfield (1/20), Nancy Serrano-Wu (1/25), Quiara Vasquez (1/26), Rich Katz (1/29), and Elise Corbin (2/2) made their NYT debuts. Congratulations to everyone!

Quick hitting links: Another month, another post of puzzle recommendations from Will Nediger | 18 year old Garrett Chalfin has two New York Times puzzle bylines and this fun interview with Intelligencer | Juliana Pache’s new Black Crossword venture got some love in this interview | “The Arcane Pleasure of Cryptic Crosswords” | My Crossword Maker’s annual scholarship for undergraduate students is open now for submissions

We’ve built out our own site a bit recently: adding links to defunct and non-updating puzzles, a page pointing readers to blogs and places for general crossword discussion, and a calendar for events, podcasts, and Twitch streams (that is admittedly pretty thin). As always if there’s something you want to see on the the site or be included in our regular posts, we have a “Send Us Something” form here.

Crossworld News: Changes at the Times

Regular News & Notes tomorrow, but the banner news of the week is a shock announcement from the New York Times: online crossword subscribers will lose access to two weekly variety puzzles–cryptics and acrostics among them–at the end of this month, and the archives, which date back to the late 1990s, will be removed. Access for print subscribers will be unchanged.

The decision is difficult to understand from the outside. The Times will continue to publish these puzzles, just not online. It is disappointing, as the applet for Acrostic solving is the best anywhere and a game-changer for the format, which can be tedious and prone to frustrating transposition errors when solving on paper. And it plain means subscribers are getting less for our money now.

An edit to the bare-bones initial announcement cited technical challenges in supporting these puzzles, low engagement among online subscribers, and a promise that the move would free up capacity for “other offerings, ” while a stock email response from the Customer Care team claims “the complex nature of these puzzles … are best solved in a printed format” and offers 50% off the first year of a new Home Delivery subscription.

These reasons ring hollow for us. Low online engagement is no surprise, given how hard these puzzles are to find online if you don’t already know they’re there. They’ve never been available on the mobile apps. Prescriptive hogwash about the “best” way to solve flies in the face of former editor Will Weng’s famous “It’s your puzzle” line while evidencing such an unfamiliarity with the Acrostic format that it’s hard to believe it’s sincere. From a technical standpoint, Cryptics and Puns & Anagrams, at least, can be presented in the exact same format as the daily crossword.

For what it’s worth, it’s likely many solvers can access these puzzles through their local library systems without needing to resort to a print subscription. The archives are accessible until 26 February, so there’s a chance to download copies of past puzzles before they disappear.

That said, the Times is not the only place to find these puzzles. For Acrostics, the Wall Street Journal provides a monthly puzzle, Dave Murchie has been running biweekly at Monday Fills for years, and Alex Boisvert’s panoply of tools at Crossword Nexus includes an Acrostic Generator that has spurred a boom in the format among indie constructors. Indeed, Boisvert has spun up a Patreon subscription service in response to this news that will deliver semimonthly acrostics.

There are too many cryptic options to list, but the The New Yorker‘s are fresh, approachable and not going anywhere. Here at Daily Crossword Links, cryptics, acrostics, and other variety puzzles can be found in the last two sections of the daily email.

In the era of the Spelling Bee, Wordle, and breathless quarterly updates about subscriber numbers, it’s hard to think of a way that a subscription has improved for crossword solvers in recent years as longstanding features are dropped and promised “other offerings” don’t materialize in return. The crossword’s editorial team is top notch, but other outlets are closing the gap in quality and consistency, if not in mainstream recognition, as a boom in constructing interest is also leading to greater numbers of skilled editors.

The Times puzzle enjoys a massive subscriber base and public esteem. Anyone following this site must be aware of the “gold standard” Homeric epithet that follows the puzzle in media coverage. The Times itself engages in a certain amount of self-mythologizing on top of their external recognition, but seems unable to decide between using its massive pulpit to serve as a standard bearer for the art form and the community, or just claiming to be one while the cold numbers of clicks and subscriptions hold more sway. This week, it’s the latter.

A jam-packed Crossworld News and Notes

Boswords 2023 Winter Wondersolve takes place February 5 beginning at 1:00pm ET. Registration opens January 21. We are excited about the event’s roster of constructors: Rebecca Goldstein, Damon Gulczynski, Enrique Henestroza Anguiano, and Joanne Sullivan.

Boswords has also released the roster for the 2023 Spring Themeless League, to take place in March and April: Ashton Anderson & James Mulhern, Kate Hawkins, Jenna LaFleur, Adrian Johnson, Hemant Mehta, Rafael Musa, Carly Schuna, Nancy Serrano-Wu, and one constructor to be chosen from an open submission process.

We’re looking forward to the smaller (and free!) second annual St. Louis Crossword Puzzle Tournament on March 4 with puzzles by Shannon Rapp and Patrick Blindauer.

The 45th Annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Stamford, CT is March 31 – April 2. Registration and hotel reservations are open now.

We hear word of two charity packs coming soon for our solving pleasure. Grids For Kids is a pack of 25 family-friendly puzzles launching in February. Shortly to follow will be the third round of These Puzzles Fund Abortion in March.

Among the changes at Crucinova under new management is the addition of a free monthly midi by editor Quiara Vasquez. The first one, “Good Housekeeping” (which actually verges on full-sized) we found delightful. Quiara is eager to entertain new queries from constructors of all levels of experience. Submit your ideas by email.

Secret Snowflake is an indie project coordinated by Rose Sloan and David Glasser in which constructors were randomly matched with each other to create custom puzzles. Not all of the thirty puzzles were released publicly, but here are a some that were: Litter Boxes by Lyle Broughton, January Stumper by Ada Nicolle, Costume Party by jseakle, Season’s Greetings by Rose Sloan, A PUZZLE FOR @TlMBERWOLVES by Paolo Pasco , Secret Snowflake Themeless by Max, Secret Snowflake by Christopher Adams, and Santa Puzzle 2022 by Xylo. (If we missed any, please drop them in the comments!)

In books, “Will Must Send Regrets: 101 Rejected Crossword Puzzles and the Stories Behind Them” by Damon Gulczynski is a new take on puzzle books; the puzzles are all past submissions to the New York Times, rejected. With “constructor notes and loosely tangential anecdotes, the puzzles tell a humorous, two-decade tale of repeated but endearing failure.” I’ve already gotten a copy, and while I haven’t solved the puzzles, I’m already hoping this is the first of a genre in the crossword scene.

Have we mentioned Stella Zawistowski’s coming book? I thought we must have, but maybe not (apologies if we have!) Bearing the title of her themeless-focused blog, “Tough As Nails Crosswords” features 72 “extra-challenging” grids from Stella. Preorders are open now, for a release on 28 March – just in time for ACPT.

P&A Magazine Issue 98 titled “X” is out now.

Congratulations to Hoang-Kim Vu, who has joined the editing team at AVCX+.

Congratulations to Jeff Chen, who as joined the team at Andrews McMeel Universal and will be the editor of Universal Sunday Crossword. Along with this news, Universal has announced they are now accepting submissions with a wider range of features. As always, we recommend constructors consult Matthew Stock’s spec sheet sheet for the most up-to-date submission specifications.

Creating Crossword Puzzles” is a course taught by Brooke Husic and Natan Last in cooperation with Atlas Obscura. The next offering of the course begins March 28 with four weekly sessions over Zoom. The content is intended for very new constructors and those who are interested in how crosswords are made. Reduced price tickets are available. The last session’s co-constructed puzzle, “Marvel, Extended Universe” is solvable online.

Hayley Gold’s next monthly cryptic stream is set for 9pm eastern on Wed., Jan. 18th. Hayley, Will and Al will be joined by special guests from the cryptic outlet The Rackenfracker.

New York Times Associate puzzle editor and Wordle editor Tracy Bennett appeared on the TODAY show to discuss her work with Wordle.

We enjoyed reading “Yesterday and tomorrow in puzzles“, a 2022 round up in “Puzzle Buzz”, the newsletter from amuselabs. Some of our favorite outlets across the community, new and old, got nice callouts for their work.

We mentioned “Outside the Blocks: A Puzzle Podcast” from Emma Oxford and Will Pfadenhauer of Pandora’s Blocks Weekly Meta Crossword when they launched in 2022. The newest episode includes an interview with Mike Dirolf, aka “mike d” aka “The Crosshare Guy.” (Sneak peek: we get a definitive answer as to how “crosshare” is pronounced.)

And some updates from the inside: We are pleased to welcome Rich Iurilli to the DCL team! You can expect to see him contribute to some daily emails and News and Notes. We’ve also been continuing to add new features to the site: More Puzzles, a listing of sites that have been dormant long enough that we don’t keep an eye on them anymore but are still full of puzzling entertainment; the beginnings of a community calendar, and a bit About Us. We also want to hear from you – if you have an idea about something you’d like to see us offer or have feedback about any of our features, please let us know.

Crossworld News and Notes, January 2023

Registration for ACPT is open now. We’re excited to see you there March 31-April 2! Also coming up: Boswords Winter Wondersolve, February 5 and St. Louis Crossword Tournament, March 4.

T. Campbell’s annual The Year In Crosswords covers the good, the bad, and the ugly in all of Crossworld in 2022. This long issue is a full who’s who and what’s what, including Wordle and its variants, changes in publications, fundraisers, tournaments, indie projects, software, AI, books and media, and more.

Sam Ezersky was profiled in Virginia Magazine, where he discussed the popularity of Spelling Bee during the pandemic and offers some of his best puzzling tips. The article is accompanied by a free series of short word puzzles inspired by Spelling Bee.

Constructor and magician David Kwong recently appeared on the podcast “Ologies” with host Alie Ward. He discussed Anigrams, AVCX, Diary of a Crossword Fiend, Wordle, cryptics, crosswords and brain health, and much more.

Congratulations to the 2023 Lil AVC X roster: Darby Ratliff, Dob Olino, Eric Mao, Jimmy Peniston, Kelly Nguyen Dickson, Lila Goldenberg, meatdaddy69420, Nancy Serrano-Wu, Nijah Morris, and Pravan Chakravarthy! We are so excited for the puzzles to come from this year’s bunch of up-and-coming constructors.

Congratulations to Nate Cardin, who has joined the editorial team at AVCX Cryptic!

Since the last News & Notes, Gustie Owens (12/4), Anthony J. Caruso (12/12), Julietta Gervase (12/13), John Martz (12/25), Josh Goodman (12/28), Seth Bisen-Hersh (1/2), Laura Breiman (1/4), Tom Bachant (1/4) made their NYT debuts. Congratulations to everyone!

We have been enjoying the latest offering from Puzzle Society: The Modern Crossword. Monday through Friday puzzles are midis of increasing size, Saturdays are themed puzzles by open submission, and Sundays are themeless puzzles by members of the editing team and invited constructors. The themes and content hold up to the puzzle’s moniker: the interface allows for alternate clues if solvers get stuck, and some clues and answers are accompanied by a constructor’s note.

We are also loving the new crosswords from Xtra, a LGBTQ2S+ online magazine. Puzzles are published the first of each month and are constructed by Ada Nicolle, who promises a younger, more inclusive vibe for the Xtra puzzles in this companion article.

The second crossword book from The Browser, “Cryptic Crosswords for Beginners” by Uri Bram & Dan Feyer is available now. They say “we break down these delightful puzzles into simple building blocks and have you solving cryptic grids before you know it!”

Fireball Crosswords begin this week and Fireball Newsflash Crosswords begin January 20, both by Peter Gordon. Subscriptions open now.

Now is also the time to renew your subscription to The Inkubator. A subscription is $30 for 36 puzzles: three puzzles a month all year long. The fifth year will feature creative themes from C.C. Burnikel, Chandi Deitmer, and Rebecca Goldstein; debuts from Max Schlenker and Darby Ratliff; themelesses from Robyn Weintraub and Wyna Liu; and many more.

AVCX and The Inkubator are open for submission. The New York Times has also reopened after a break.

Crossworld News and Notes: December

A little straightforward this time, but it’s news all the same.

We’d previously noted Lisa Bunker’s announcement of Crucinova‘s wind-down, and are thrilled to instead see the innovative venture continue under new editorship, as Lisa has announced Quiara Vasquez will take the helm with behind-the-scenes assistance from Gavin Byrnes. In an email to subscribers, Lisa shared, “I am deeply impressed by Quiara’s constructing and editing chops, and excited to see where she takes the site.”

Quiara has already begun her work at Crucinova, including constructing this week’s puzzle. Our congratulations and gratitude to her for taking this on.

It’s Puzzle Mania season from The New York Times – this Sunday’s (12/18) paper will include a special print-edition-only puzzle-themed bonus section in what has become an annual tradition for puzzle lovers. In the NYT Games team’s weekly email newsletter, Sam Ezersky shared that this year’s Super Mega was constructed by Joel Fagliano and is “the largest crossword you’ll ever see.” (Frank Longo might have something to say about that, Sam.)

The Puzzle Mania section will be in all Sunday editions of the paper, for both print subscribers and at newsstands. If you’re unable to locate a copy, some will be available beginning Monday from the Times online store.

From Hayley Gold: Calling all cryptic lovers and the crypt-curious: Me, Al Sanders and Will Nediger will be doing a special holiday cryptic stream on Friday December 16 at 9 pm eastern at We’ll be featuring an all new puzzle by NPL legend Kevin Wald, and wait there’s more— Kevin will be with us! Plus, 2nd special guest Steve Mossberg, whose upcoming 8-night Hanukkah cryptic suite is bound to be a real latke-fest. Plus more variety cryptics full of season’s solvings! 
Pretend I figured out how to embed this tweet from Erik Agard. Erik is sharing two 13×13 puzzles with folks who donate to a GoFundMe for Khorry Ramey, whose father Kevin Johnson was killed by lethal injection in Missouri in late November. I (Matt) encourage you to read some of the news coverage Kevin, Khorry, and the barbarism of our state from that time. It’s easy to look away but I hope you won’t.


Keep an eye out for ACPT 2023 Registration, expected to open around the first of the year. Room block information for the Marriott will be available then, as well. We hope to see you there!


Bacon (Erdős?) Numbers for crosswords? Bacon (Erdős?) Numbers for crosswords. And who else to name it after than Nancy Salomon, one of the great crossword mentors and collaborators of the 90s and 00s? In the New York Times alone, 116 of Nancy’s 186 puzzles between 1995 and 2012 were collaborations. After the original idea from Quiara here, Alex Boisvert is on the case, with help from Saul Pwanson’s data set, which you might know from a certain past plagiarism scandal.

An initial tool to determine Salomon numbers is available at The Wisdom of Salomon (the DCL team are all at 4, currently), and Alex shared initial analysis at the Nexus Blog. Excited to see where this goes!

Crossworld News and Notes

Congratulations to Erik Agard, winner of the 2022 Boswords Fall Themeless League, and to second- and third- place contestants Tyler Hinman and Will Nediger. League puzzle packs, videos, and full standings are available at Boswords Winter Wondersolve will take place February 5.

The 45th Annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament will be held in Stamford, CT March 31-April 2, 2023. Registration opens January 1.

AVCX+ is accepting applications for up to two new crossword editors to join the team in 2023. Applications accepted through December 4.

AVCX submissions open December 1 and Inkubator submissions open January 1.

Since the last News & Notes, Taylor Johnson (11/14), Benji Goldsmith (11/19), Kanyin Ajayi (11/26), Chloe Revery (11/28), and David Rockow (11/29) made their NYT debuts. Congratulations to everyone! Here’s some of their other work we have enjoyed: Chloe’s presentation for !!Con 2020 and Taylor’s work with the Lemonade Disco series.

Jeff Chen, operator of XWord Info, recently appeared on the Creative License podcast. He talks about what drew him into the world of puzzles, how he brainstorms themes, and what keeps him coming back for more.

The New York Times has announced that Wordle will now be edited and tested similar to Spelling Bee and the crossword. Tracy Bennett, associate puzzle editor, will lead this work.

Steve Mossberg is excited to announce “Eight Cryptic Nights,” a free Chanukah-themed variety cryptic meta suite. A new puzzle will drop at 5:00 PM ET each night of the holiday starting on December 18. It’s full of Jewish culture, humor, and even a little Hebrew, but should be loads of fun whether or not you light the menorah, and can be solved at Square Pursuit.

The Amazing Inventions of Eureka K. Jones,” a puzzle hunt by Eric Berlin is available now. For $7.99, you get eleven puzzles including a meta puzzle.

The Charlotte Ledger Crossword Puzzle Collection” by Chris King is a book of 35 Charlotte-themed crossword puzzles that originally run on the Charlotte Ledger site (5 are new) for $12.99.

Fireball Newsflash Crosswords by Peter Gordon are timely, current-event themed puzzles delivered twice a month by email. Registrations open now through January 18 on Kickstarter for the 2023 series.

The newest additions to the Sit & Solve crossword book series, edited by Francis Heaney, are here: a “simple” edition by Brooke Husic, and a “tough” edition by Kameron Austin Collins. The previous pair, by Robyn Weintraub and Adesina O. Koiki, are still available as well.

And if you’re looking for more holiday gift ideas, BEQ shared some of his recommendations in a recent blog post. We second his plug for the Inkubator book, and also suggest the reprinted film-themed A24 book. Gift subscriptions to the Inkubator to support gender diversity in crosswords and AVCX to support the indie community at large are great ideas too.

Have a news tip for us? An idea to pitch? A puzzle or puzzle site to share? Let us know!

Crossworld News and Notes, November 2022

Across and Down” is a CBC documentary that follows a set of constructors as they fight to improve representation in crosswords. Constructors featured are Tass and Lita Williams, Natan Last, Nancy Serrano-Wu, Soleil St-Cyr, Ross Trudeau, and Nate Cardin. While the documentary is currently not available outside Canada, the accompanying articles “Seven crossword constructors fighting for better representation in the beloved puzzle” and “Bias in crosswords: how women, people of colour and LGBTQIA+ communities are overlooked” provide a bit of a sneak peek. We’re happy to see Queer Qrosswords, Women of Letters, and The Inkubator mentioned.

In digging up more about “Across and Down” we found an old, but excellent, article from the Halifax Examiner featuring Tass and Lita Williams and the making of culturally significant crosswords.

Celia Mattison, writing for Catapult Magazine in “Why I Started Writing Crossword Puzzles” describes her experience in redefining what “common knowledge” can be in crosswords.

From cryptic streamer Hayley Gold: “This month’s cryptic stream (featuring guests Ryan McCarty, Derek Allen, and No-Feet McGee — plus the boring regulars: Will Nediger, Al Sanders, and Two-Feet Hayley —though technically one is broken) will be on Friday, November 18 at 9 pm Eastern. Come one, come all for a cornucopia of classic cryptics, because that’s the only thing I’m thankful for.  Go to to watch, or catch the VOD afterward for only 7 days (twitch lowered the number of days, so just come to the live show so ya don’t have to worry about it!)”

Congratulations to the new members of the Lil AVC X editing team for 2023: Derek Allen, Kavin Pawittranon, Kelsey Dixon, Ken Stern, No-Feet McGee, Olivia Mitra Framke, Rafael Musa, Rose Sloan, Sally Hoelscher, Sara Cantor, Steve Mossberg, and Will Eisenberg. We are so excited for the puzzles to come from this amazing lineup!

Lil AVC X is also recruiting constructors for the 2023 roster. Applications are due November 21.

Congratulations to Ada Nicolle who has joined the team at Crossword Club as both an editor and constructor.

Autostraddle, a progressive, feminist, LGBTQIA+ digital publication has begun offering crossword puzzles that center queer content. Puzzles so far are written by Brooke Husic and Rachel Fabi, with more constructors to come. Three mini puzzles each week are free to all, and a midi crossword is published Saturdays exclusively for Autostraddle’s A+ members.

A new crop of puzzle sources has come to our attention lately. We’re happy to share these in the Daily Links, but we also want to recommend them to our News and Notes readers. In standard crosswords we have learned of Completing the Square by Carter, Crossword Dilemmas by Emma Lawson, and Quid Pro by Andrew Anker; and in cryptics, Pix Puzzles by Pixlate and The Buzzle Blog by Celise. We have also started including The Chicago Maroon by University of Chicago students.

We’re also enjoying the work of Taylor Johnson and the ongoing suite of Lemonade Disco puzzles. Constructors of all experienced levels are encouraged to submit ideas. On the 17th of each month a new pack is released and the new prompt is announced.

Since the last News & Notes, Caryn L. Robbins (10/17), Rafael Musa (10/21), Joe Rodini (10/24), Nick Shephard (10/25), Ethan Zou (11/2), Juliet Corless (11/4), Jill Singer (11/6) made their NYT debuts! Congrats to everyone! Check out some of their other work we have enjoyed: Rafa’s AVCX+ “Can We Solve It? Yes We Can!” (with Kate Chin Park), Juliet’s work with The Daily Princetonian, Jill’s Spyscape “Inside Jobs“.

Thank you to our friends at the Fill Me In podcast, who in recent weeks have hosted a variety of guests to discuss topics in crossworld. Check out these episodes if you missed them: Rachel Fabi and Neville Fogarty talk about their work in making, solving, and streaming cryptic crosswords; Kate Chin Park and Will Eisenberg share their interesting origin stories; our own Matthew Gritzmacher discusses the history and future of Daily Crossword Links; and our own Shannon Rapp reviews some of her favorite indie puzzles over the last couple of months.

The New York Times is accepting applications for the second class of their Diverse Crossword Constructor Fellowship. Submissions open through December 1.

Beginning November 23 through January 3, 2023, The New York Times is accepting Sunday-size submissions only, directly by email to All other submissions are closed until after January 3.

Have a news tip for us? An idea to pitch? A puzzle or puzzle site to share? Let us know!

Crossworld News and Notes, October 2022

This is the first News & Notes since we left Substack entirely. We’ve made every effort to preserve the lists of folks who opted out of the daily emails while still receiving News & Notes, and vice versa, and appreciate your patience if you receive this in error – an unsubscribe link is at the bottom and will not affect the daily links distribution.

The Boswords Fall Themeless League is on! The puzzles and Twitch streams from September 26 and October 3 are available now. Late registrations are accepted; sign up here.

Cruciverbology is a new blog by constructor Elise Corbin. Elise has published with The Inkubator and Fireball Crosswords and made the only puzzle for FiveThirtyEight to date following a memorable indie debut just over two years ago — seriously, solve “Election Tampering” ASAP if it’s new to you. She calls her blog “Crosswords with a nerdy twist,” and the three puzzles available so far fit that description perfectly. We look forward to what more she will bring to the indie space.

Emma Oxford and Will Pfadenhauer of Pandora’s Blocks weekly meta crossword have started a podcast, “Outside the Blocks: A Puzzle Podcast.” In the first episode, released September 18, they review and explain a handful of meta puzzles from a variety of sources. They promise interviews with meta constructors in the future.

We’ve been listing weekly puzzles from Morning Brew for a bit now, but only recently caught up to their expanded offerings. Mary Tobler now oversees four puzzles a week: a Tuesday mini, a “more experimental” Thursday midi, the (typically) 15x you’ve seen us link for a bit, and a current events-minded Sunday 10x. Having passed 4 million subscribers earlier this year, Morning Brew creates puzzles for a wide range of solvers, and this new lineup is their latest initiative to encourage readers and puzzle fans, from daily devotees to first-timers, to engage with crosswords through innovative, fun formats. Mary talks more about her work in puzzles in the Morning Brew piece, “How puzzle master Mary Tobler makes a living playing games.”

A new puzzle is available at Planet Crossword, edited by Stella Zawistowski and Brooke Husic. A robust “About Us” section can be found here, but a particular highlight of this new outlet is that it uses software designed specifically for collaborative solving–on Zoom calls, on streams, or otherwise–filling the grid from correct answers typed into a chat. New puzzles are published each weekday at noon.

Writing for the Washington Post, Evan Birnholz published an interview with Jim Quinlan, crossword constructor and commenter, who recently retired from reviewing Evan’s puzzles at Diary of a Crossword Fiend after five years.

For cryptic fans, we learned recently of the Global Indian Crossword league 2022, an online worldwide cryptic crossword tournament, thanks to a news blurb about Erik Agard and Neville Fogarty’s places on the leaderboard. An in-person finale is scheduled for December 25 in Bangalore. Anyone is welcome to join and late registrations are accepted. Sign up here.

The New York Times Gameplay team has a new series called “Mini to Maestro,” in which they promise “Everyone can solve the New York Times Crossword.” Using progressively more difficult puzzles as examples and explaining solving strategies to use for each day of the week, they help teach solvers how to improve their skills. Each piece lists un-paywalled NYT crosswords chosen by members of the Gameplay team to practice the techniques explained.

Congratulations to Kate Chin Park, who has joined The New Yorker puzzles and games team as Assistant Editor. We’re big fans of her work at her own site, Crossword Club, and elsewhere, and excited to see what she brings to the TNY team.

Lil AVC X is seeking constructors and expert solvers who are interested in being first-time editors to join the team for 2023. Applications due October 21. Details here.

Since the last News & Notes, Helen Chen (9/22), David Karp (9/30), Sarah Sinclair (10/2), Jason Reich (10/5), and Ailee Yoshida made their NYT debuts; and Li Ding (9/19), Kavin Pawittranon (9/26), and Nijah Morris (9/26) made their USAT debuts! Congrats to everyone! Sarah has designed knitting patterns based on Wordle, the Spelling Bee, and the NYT Crossword. Helen’s puzzle is the second and Ailee’s the third to be published from the NYT Diverse Crossword Constructor Fellowship inaugural class, and Ailee is the youngest woman to have a crossword published in the New York Times.

Creating Crossword Puzzles” is a course taught by Brooke Husic and Natan Last in cooperation with Atlas Obscura. The second offering of the course begins October 11 (tonight!) with four weekly sessions over Zoom. The content is intended for very new constructors and those who are interested in how crosswords are made. Reduced price tickets are available.

In “How I Crossed Crosswords,” David Ding details his journey in writing a crossword puzzle, culminating with the publication of the September 27 Universal puzzle with Ross Trudeau. Aspiring constructors might appreciate the behind-the-scenes perspective of developing a puzzle with editors and working through the process with an experienced mentor.

Amuse Labs hosts a free monthly webinar for constructors. This month, they will discuss PuzzleMe features for creating and solving puzzles with a live Q&A session with developers. The webinar is scheduled for October 20 at 11am ET. Sign up here.

Have a news tip for us? An idea to pitch? A puzzle or puzzle site to share? Let us know!