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.