My first published puzzle was a crossword in The New York Times on Oct. 20, 2010, as long as you don’t count the logic puzzles I self-published and distributed to my parents from the ages of 9 to 13.
Fun fact about that debut puzzle: I was 18 when it was published, and had been submitting to Will for about a year and a half. Although he hadn’t accepted any of my puzzles yet, he was very courteous and took the time to write detailed responses to my submissions. Eventually, he invited me to the Westchester Crossword Puzzle Tournament, a low-key puzzle event he runs every fall.
When I went up to say hi to him at the tournament, he immediately said, “Finn — you’re waiting to hear from me on a puzzle, aren’t you?” He must have been looking at it recently; at the reception later, which is held at his house, I saw my manuscript sitting on his desk. He accepted the puzzle two days later and graciously slotted it to be published only two and a half weeks later.
My parents and grandmother always did the crossword when I was growing up. I’d often chime in with just the three or four entries I knew, but as an 11- or 12-year-old, I just didn’t have the knowledge base to make even a dent on a crossword.
As such, I gravitated much more toward logic puzzles (grid puzzles and table puzzles — the kind you see in PennyPress and Dell magazines, where you have to match up the person to their profession and street and whatnot). As I reached the ripe, wizened era of my early teens, though, I just started being able to do a bit more of the puzzle. Then I saw the documentary “Wordplay,” and realized there was this whole crossword community out there. Interestingly, though, while the documentary itself was about the top solvers at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, I was much more drawn to the DVD extras of “Wordplay,” which included a handful of interviews with top constructors, including Liz Gorski and Merl Reagle. Watching them at work made me open a blank Excel document to try (and fail, many times) to write a crossword.
You know, there actually is some extraordinary gratification in the painstaking process of checking every possible fill for a corner until the right one just finally clicks into place.
Also, it’s a pretty great icebreaker at parties.
I use CrossFire for Mac, which I like just fine, though I gather it’s not quite as advanced as Crossword Compiler for Windows. I both use the “Fill” tab of Crossfire as well as search letter patterns in XWordInfo.com and OneLook.com, so CrossFire is a perfectly acceptable medium for that two-pronged method.
I’m not sure I could really quantify this. I’ll add words as I go — if I find a good, new entry in that letter pattern search as I noted above, I’ll add it then and there to my word list.
If CrossFire suggests an entry that I know I’d never use, I rescore it below the threshold I’ve set as the minimum word score. I have access to Jeff Chen’s enormous word list as a subscribing member to XWordInfo, so I really have Jeff to thank for such high-quality maintenance of that list.
One day, I tell myself, I’ll sit down and do an even finer pruning … but that day hasn’t come yet. I know that aspiring constructors say they are daunted by the word list aspect of construction: Don’t be. There are a lot of great word lists out there (free or by subscription). Get your hands on one and it will do the job. You’ll come to find a degree of word list maintenance that works for you.
I spend a lot of time refining the fill in my puzzles, and I like to think I hold that fill to a pretty high standard.
Fill is 80 percent of the grid, if not all of it, so it should be things you actually want to see in a puzzle. If I’m using a somewhat tired “crosswordese” entry, I really aim for a more exciting clue. I pretty much always avoid the following:
Pluralized names (especially first names)
Partial phrases, except for extremely common ones
Random Roman numerals (more commonly seen Roman numerals, like III or XII, as on a grandfather clock, are totally fair game).
As for failing the breakfast test: I’m all for it. The Times (by necessity, alas) runs vulgarities on its front page. It’s not going to hurt anyone to have a little URINE or ENEMA in our puzzles … and it’s certainly going to help constructors, because those words alternate consonants and vowels.
But more important than whether we should put POO in our puzzles via a clue other than [Nanki-___] or [Cock-a-___], blowing up the breakfast test speaks to a larger question of what The Times deems puzzle-worthy.
A puzzle I wrote with my good friend Natan Last and the J.A.S.A. crossword class had the entry BELL HOOKS, the famous writer and activist, in it. We were astonished to be told she wasn’t familiar enough for The Times’s crossword audience. I’d love to see the New York Times Crossword get a little blacker, gayer, more female. Obviously, that goes for the demographics of constructors, too, but also the makeup of the grids. I’m wrapping up a puzzle now with MASC in the grid, a common descriptor among queer people. (Although a shortened form of “masculine,” it has widespread usage in its own right — see Urban Dictionary’s second definition.) There were no constraints that forced me to include it in the grid; I wanted to include it. I’d like for it not to wind up with a clinical clue such as “Like the Fr. ‘le,’ but not ‘la’,” but instead, something like “Description in a Grindr bio, maybe.”
My Twitter is sometimes fun, if you like crosswords but also urban planning, leftist politics, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. I collaborated on a crossword for the charity puzzle pack Queer Qrosswords, which debuted last year, and I’ll be contributing more for its sequel (planned for May 2019). Please support indie crosswords like the Inkubator, an entirely women-run and women-constructed puzzle outlet.B:
红太阳高手心水论坛g（【朋】【友】【们】，【订】【阅】，【票】【票】【走】【一】【波】【吧】！【不】【然】，【胡】【林】【会】【死】【的】！(╥╯^╰╥)） 【次】【日】【清】【晨】，【没】【有】【下】【雨】，【胡】【林】【起】【了】【个】【大】【早】。 【站】【在】【观】【景】【阳】【台】，【仰】【望】【天】【空】。【那】【布】【满】【苍】【穹】【的】【云】【朵】，【不】【禁】【让】【胡】【林】【联】【想】【到】【了】，【樂】【山】【一】【家】【小】【吃】【店】【里】【的】【黄】【粑】。【色】【泽】【黄】【润】、【味】【道】【清】【香】、【口】【感】【软】【糯】。 “【暴】【饮】【暴】【食】，【真】【不】【是】【个】【好】【习】【惯】。”【胡】【林】【摸】【了】【摸】，【经】【过】
【穆】【锦】【辰】【却】【看】【着】【她】【的】【眼】【睛】，【缓】【缓】【说】：“【倾】【倾】，【我】【需】【要】【你】【在】【身】【边】。” 【啊】！ 【夏】【倾】【智】【商】【总】【算】【上】【线】【了】，【她】【居】【然】【给】【忘】【了】，【虽】【然】【穆】【锦】【辰】【表】【面】【上】【还】【是】【那】【个】【穆】【锦】【辰】，【可】【是】【他】【如】【今】【的】【心】【理】【年】【龄】【是】【在】【十】【岁】【左】【右】【的】！ 【都】【怪】【他】【表】【现】【得】【太】【好】，【她】【差】【点】【没】【记】【起】【来】【这】【个】【事】。 “【好】，【那】【我】【陪】【你】【去】。” 【想】【起】【了】【这】【件】【事】，【另】【外】【一】【件】【事】【也】【想】【起】【了】
【第】546【章】 【楚】【奕】【听】【见】【了】，【倒】【是】【开】【心】。 【他】【本】【来】【就】【不】【喜】【欢】【阮】【氏】，【阮】【氏】【要】【是】【走】【了】【也】【省】【得】【他】【看】【见】【了】【心】【烦】【了】。 【阮】【氏】【却】【不】【舍】【得】【走】。 【她】【在】【这】【木】【家】【医】【馆】【什】【么】【都】【有】，【她】【不】【想】【走】！ 【她】【没】【去】【拿】【银】【子】，【只】【说】【道】：“【我】【还】【想】【继】【续】【留】【在】【这】【里】，【我】【可】【以】【不】【要】【银】【子】。” 【阮】【伊】【人】【自】【然】【不】【觉】【得】【阮】【氏】【这】【说】【的】【是】【真】【话】【总】【感】【觉】【她】【在】【盘】【算】【什】【么】。
【宓】【清】【浅】【一】【抬】【头】，“【您】【怎】【么】【知】【道】【的】？” “【哼】【哼】，【有】【我】【不】【知】【道】【的】【事】【吗】？”【老】【爷】【子】【很】【是】【傲】【娇】，“【爷】【爷】【年】【龄】【是】【大】【了】，【可】【心】【里】【面】【跟】【明】【镜】【似】【的】，【明】【明】【白】【白】【的】。” 【宓】【清】【浅】【点】【点】【头】，“【是】【是】，【爷】【爷】【最】【厉】【害】【了】。” 【老】【爷】【子】【老】【了】【有】【时】【候】【性】【子】【也】【跟】【小】【孩】【一】【样】，【要】【让】【人】【哄】【着】，【夸】【奖】【一】【两】【句】【就】【跟】【高】【兴】【得】【跟】【什】【么】【一】【样】，【果】【不】【其】【然】【宓】【清】【浅】【这】【么】
【莫】【清】【绝】【说】【的】【是】【直】【摇】【头】。 【黑】【耀】【面】【露】【不】【悦】，“【所】【以】【你】【连】【想】【都】【不】【敢】【想】，【弱】【者】”。 【莫】【清】【绝】【从】【黑】【耀】【的】【手】【中】【接】【过】【酒】【壶】【给】【他】【酌】【上】【一】【杯】，【笑】【着】【说】，“【想】【是】【不】【敢】，【那】【东】【西】【要】【命】，【好】【不】【容】【易】【逍】【遥】【了】，【留】【着】【许】【多】【时】【日】【保】【命】【要】【紧】”。 【黑】【耀】【顺】【势】【接】【过】【酒】【杯】【一】【口】【饮】【下】，【露】【出】【一】【个】【笑】【来】，【叫】【意】【味】【深】【长】。 【情】【这】【个】【词】，【除】【非】【不】【碰】，【一】【旦】【碰】【上】【必】红太阳高手心水论坛g【新】【书】【发】【布】，【我】【有】【百】【分】【百】【成】【功】【率】 【各】【位】【可】【以】【关】【注】【关】【注】【哦】
“【我】【我】【骗】【你】【什】【么】【了】？” 【明】【瑶】【强】【忍】【着】【身】【子】【里】【叫】【喧】【的】【压】【迫】，【问】【道】，【一】【双】【眼】【睛】【通】【红】，【是】【真】【的】【委】【屈】【了】。 “【以】【为】【后】【来】【我】【没】【有】【自】【己】【试】【过】？【我】【找】【了】【无】【数】【的】【仙】【器】【名】【剑】，【让】【各】【家】【名】【士】【来】【帮】【我】【劈】【断】【那】【黑】【环】，【明】【明】【就】【差】【一】【点】，【可】【是】【无】【论】【如】【何】【都】【劈】【不】【开】，【你】【告】【诉】【我】【是】【为】【什】【么】？” “【怎】【么】【会】？” 【明】【瑶】【隐】【忍】【地】【吼】【道】，【她】【知】
【混】【了】【一】【个】【月】【全】【勤】，【实】【在】【写】【不】【下】【去】【了】，2333 【最】【近】【可】【能】【运】【气】【也】【太】【背】【了】【吧】，【写】【文】【扑】【街】【就】【算】【了】，【没】【想】【到】【吧】，【好】【不】【容】【易】【遇】【到】【个】【喜】【欢】【的】【女】【孩】，【纠】【结】【了】【好】【几】【天】，【昨】【天】【夜】【里】【表】【白】【的】，【结】【果】**【委】【婉】【拒】【绝】【了】，【我】【顿】【时】【心】【哇】【啦】【的】【凉】【啊】，【人】【生】【太】【难】【了】【啊】。 【我】【也】【有】【点】【悔】【恨】，【也】【怕】【和】【她】【连】【朋】【友】【都】【做】【不】【成】……【似】【乎】【担】【心】【有】【点】【多】【余】【了】。 【就】
【看】【着】【前】【面】【的】【坑】，【玉】【祁】【心】【里】【也】【是】【有】【点】【欢】【愉】【的】！ 【还】【好】【这】【怪】【物】【没】【有】【成】【长】【起】【来】，【要】【是】【到】【了】【后】【天】【境】【界】【了】，【就】【算】【是】【玉】【祁】【要】【杀】【它】【也】【是】【千】【难】【万】【难】，【甚】【至】【还】【杀】【不】【死】。 【不】【过】【这】【怪】【物】【也】【没】【有】【成】【长】【起】【来】，【就】【如】【同】【小】【孩】【一】【样】。 【走】【到】【坑】【旁】，【把】【坑】【上】【的】【灰】【给】【刨】【开】，【一】【块】【奇】【异】【的】【金】【属】【让】【玉】【祁】【看】【得】【有】【点】【呆】【了】…… “【这】【是】【什】【么】【东】【西】？”【玉】【祁】【在】【心】