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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!