Congratulations to Erik Agard, winner of the 2023 Boswords Spring 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 summer tournament will take place July 23 online and at the Roxbury Latin School in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.
Lollapuzzoola 2023 is August 19 in New York City. Registration is open now.
Save the Date: the 46th annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament will take place April 5-7 in Stamford Connecticut.
We’re happy to commemorate Patti Varol’s first anniversary as editor at the Los Angeles Times crossword. We asked her to share a few words about her first year and goals for the future:
“In addition to being proud of the overall quality and consistency of the puzzles, I’m really happy about the gender balance I’ve brought to the venue. Since I took over, we’ve had full gender parity every month — if anything, it has been unbalanced in the direction of more women than men some months. We’ve also had a ton of debuts, and I love working with and mentoring new constructors — we average five debuts a month, so that means we’ve probably had in the neighborhood of 60 first-timers in the LAT since I took over, including 28 so far in 2023. There’s still work I need to do to improve cultural and ethnic diversity in the constructors and the content, of course, and that’s part of the commitment I’ve made to improving the puzzles overall.”
The latest entry in the New York Times series “60 Seconds with a Constructor” welcomes Christina Iverson as Associate Puzzle Editor.
Congratulations to everyone who has recently made crossword debuts!
New York Times: Sam Buttrey (4/6), Robin Yu (4/13), Clay Haddock (4/14), Mike Hobin (4/16), Katherine Baicker (4/17), Kiran Pandey (4/18), Catherine Cetta (5/8), Spencer Leach (5/13).
Los Angeles Times: Sean Ziebarth (4/4), Adam Arvidson (4/13), Juliet Corless (4/18), Garrett Chalfin (4/23), Stacey McCullough (4/30), Max Schlenker (5/4), Francie Jones (5/5), Margaret Hurley (5/17), Kelly Richardson (5/25), Andrew Anker (5/26), Rose Sloan (5/28);
USA Today: Jimmy Peniston (5/15).
Contest Crosswords Combating Cancer (CCCC) is a bundle of 16 contest-style (meta) crosswords organized by Will Pfadenhauer to help raise money for cancer-related organizations. The puzzles are easy-to-medium in difficulty (for both the grids and the metas). Make a donation of any amount to the cancer-related organization of your choice to get the puzzles. More details are available at CrosswordsForCancer.com.
A-to-Z Crosswords 2023 is open for registration on Kickstarter. Puzzles are daily 9×11 pangrams written by Frank Longo and Peter Gordon. At $14 for the series that’s $0.16 per puzzle. The subscription begins in early June.
Puzzlesnacks Plus Volume 2 by Eric Berlin is available now. 20 variety puzzles, this time bigger and more challenging. $7.99
National Treasures is a free puzzle hunt available at The Puzzle Society. This series of ten word games and puzzles is presented in a detective story format rich with narrative.
We’re sad to see The Crosswords Club discontinued. The longtime puzzles-by-mail subscription added an electronic delivery in recent years and was for our money the highest-quality option for 21x puzzles out there. The June 2023 issue will be the last. We’re grateful to Patti Varol for her great editing work and Penny Publications for their support over the years.
Ross Trudeau announced on his site that he will stop posting puzzles weekly on Sundays, as he has done weekly since March 2020 (and biweekly for a bit prior to that). Two pull quotes we’ll highlight from his reflections:
“I suspect puzzles here will appear on the order of, oh, 1-2 a month, but who knows!”
“There’s a silver lining though. My motivation for letting this and other future Sundays pass with no new puzzle–I’ll keep sharing them irregularly–is that I have new and exciting puzzle projects on the horizon. I encourage you to continue to check back here for updates in the coming months.”
Ross isn’t the only one lately to use “new and exciting projects on the horizon” language, so we’re looking forward to new developments on the scene, whatever they might be.
Stella Zawistowski posted “Decrypting the Cryptic: Resources!” as a list of sources for those looking to get into solving cryptic crosswords.
Tracy Bennett, associate puzzle editor for the New York Times appeared on a recent episode of The, Art of Sway. She discussed gender in crosswords, the social appeal of Wordle, and her own solving strategies.
“The Aesthetics of Crossword Puzzles” by Robbie Kubala published in the British Journal of Aesthetics in March explores the three sources of aesthetics in crossword puzzles: “the experience of one’s own agency, the visual appeal of grid art, and the literary pleasures of idiomatic language” using examples of puzzles and commentary from across the puzzle landscape.
“The Labor of Play” by Ben Tausig for Public Books Magazine includes short interviews with puzzle and game writers Adrienne Raphel and Oliver Roeder.
Some ACPT 2023 retrospectives and media that we enjoyed:
- Sam Ezersky writes about his process for constructing Puzzle 5 for NYT’s The Lab in “This Puzzle is a Battle.”
- ACPT judge Ben Bass moderated a discussion with Division A runner-up Paolo Pasco, constructor Robyn Weintraub, and judge John Lieb for a three-hour recap on Twitch
- Tyler Hinman’s blog “On the 2023 ACPT“
- Fill Me In Episode #391 reviews the puzzles and Fill Me In Episode #388 recaps the event
- “A Weekend Among the Gods” by Oliver Roeder for The Financial Times featuring quotes and pics from some of our favorite solvers and constructors
- Event and Behind the Scenes photos from Don Christensen
- News 12 Connecticut coverage