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.org. 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 twitch.tv/bewilderingly 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 crosswordeditors@nytimes.com. 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!

Crossworld News and Notes, September 2022

Don’t forget, we’re moving! For now we are still simulcasting via Substack and WordPress, but we will soon transition to only WordPress. Make sure you’re subscribed to the new site:

And we’re growing! We’ve added pages for Construction Resources and our entire list of puzzle sources. We also want to hear from you – is there a feature you want to see? Have an idea to pitch, a guest essay to submit, or a tip about some exciting puzzle news? Something else? Let us know!

We’re very happy to share our first essay, “On Trust,” by Will Eisenberg, exploring the relationship between a constructor and solver. A snippet: “A puzzlemaker can strive to evoke many things: happiness, nostalgia, the feeling of being ‘seen,’ the joy of an “aha!” moment, and even frustration. But the ability to evoke these emotions from the solver is built upon a base of trust. This is because a puzzle offers the solver one fundamental proposition: It is going to take you some time to work out the solution, but it will be worth it.”

We’re excited to add a home for guest essays here on our new site, and will build out public submission guidelines in time.


Congratulations to Kelsey Dixon, whose puzzle was chosen from an open call to round out the Boswords Fall Themeless League. She joins Derek Allen, Kate Chin Park & Chandi Deitmer, Malaika Handa, Natan Last, Barbara Lin, Portia Lundie, Brendan Emmett Quigley, and Brad Wilber. What a fantastic lineup! Registration is open now, and the League starts with the preseason puzzle on September 26.

New to Boswords? Check out the introductory video from organizer John Lieb:

Registration is open now for The Tenth Annual Finger Lakes Crossword Competition on September 24. After a Zoom-based kick off event moderated by Anna Shechtman, the puzzles are presented in a laid-back, self-timed, all-pdf format. The event is open to individuals and teams of up to four people with three levels of difficulty. The fee is pay-what-you-want and proceeds support adult literacy programs in the Finger Lakes area.

Final reminder that the Lollapuzzoola 15 puzzles are available for purchase through September 24. There’s so much good content here; get it while you still can!


My Jewish Learning, a site with resources to empower Jewish discovery for anyone interested in learning more, has launched a weekly Jewish themed mini crossword puzzle written by Rebecca Goldstein. They will also run larger Jewish holiday-themed puzzles throughout the year.

The first edition of Lemonade Disco has arrived! The theme of the 5-puzzle pack hosted on Taylor Made Crosswords is “Cocktail Mixer” and includes puzzles by Matt Forest, Emma Getman, George Ho, Seth Bisen-Hersh, and Glenn Cook. Puzzles are curated and edited by Taylor Johnson with help on this edition from guest editor Steve Mossberg. Constructors of any experience level may participate. Submissions for the third edition, “Rising Signs” are due on October 17. Submissions details here.

Crucinova has announced it will be drawing to a close by June 2023. We’ve enjoyed many of the innovative puzzles that Crucinova has made possible and we thank Lisa Bunker and all of the constructors for their work.


A hearty welcome back to Cursewords Live! After an extended summer hiatus, Parker Higgins and Ross Trudeau will be live solving and live creating puzzles once more starting tonight (September 18) at 8pm eastern.


AVCX Cryptics has re-opened for submissions during the month of September. Details here.

The Inkubator is open for submissions for the month of September for themed puzzles from women and nonbinary constructors. Details here.

Congratulations to Katie Hale, who has joined the L.A. Times team as Assistant Editor.


Since the last News & Notes, Adam Simpson (9/5) and Ekua Ewool (9/7) made their NYT debuts and Bonnie Eisenman (9/12) made her USAT debut! Congrats to everyone!


Hayley Gold, along with Will Nediger and Al Sanders, have issued a contest to write a full set of new cryptic clues for the grid “Un-American” by Stephen Sondheim. The filled grid is here and the original puzzle and clues are here. Submit contest entries to Hayley via Twitter dm. Hayley, Will, and Al are co-streaming cryptics on Will’s Twitch channel; next streams are October 6 and October 21 at 9pm eastern.

Hayley also wrote a in-depth rundown of Lollapuzzoola 15 for Beyond Wordplay and she was a guest on the podcast “Because Language” to discuss the state and history of cryptic crosswords and crossworld in general.


Champion speed solver Stella Zawistowski recently appeared on the YouTube show “Game On,” in which she raced viewers to solve a series of crosswords.


Thanks in preparing this issue to: Kate Chin Park, Hayley Gold, Rebecca Goldstein, and Taylor Johnson.

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

Crossworld News and Notes, August 2022

Lots of news, including some of our own!




Since the last News & Notes, Sue Fracker (8/16), Doug Burnikel (8/22), Trey Mendez (8/23), and Robert Logan (8/26) made their NYT debuts, and Scott Earl (8/15) and Rena Cohen (8/22) made their USAT debuts! Congrats to everyone!









Thanks in preparing this issue to: Brooke Husic, Adesina Koiki, Adam Wagner, and Sean Weitner.