I’ve written over 5,000 crossword puzzles over the past 28 years; for the last 18 of those years, crossword puzzle-writing has been my full-time profession. What kind of a person does this?
I had an early interest in puzzles: when I was twelve I submitted a crossword I’d written to the now-defunct magazine Dell Champion Crossword Puzzles. That first puzzle was rejected by the magazine’s editor, Wayne Robert Williams, but Williams sent me a detailed 2-page letter outlining where I’d gone wrong. Keeping these pointers in mind I wrote two more crosswords, both of which were accepted by Williams, and in December of 1986 they became my first two published crosswords. I was 13 years old and got paid $40 apiece for them which I thought was awesome.
Since that time I’ve written more than 4,000 crosswords for an extremely wide variety of publications. In addition to many puzzles for the New York Times, I’ve done a “Shark Week” crossword for the Discovery Channel, baseball crosswords for Major League Baseball’s website, an Egyptian Pyramid crossword for the Travel Channel, and a seven-puzzle murder mystery for Wine Spectator called “Murder by Malbec.” I’ve written fourteen books of crossword puzzles, plus The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Crossword Puzzles and Word Games and the 2006 narrative book Gridlock: Crossword Puzzles and the Mad Geniuses Who Create Them.
In recent years I’ve been focusing on Internet publishing. I run a weekly contest crossword each Friday afternoon and a themed crossword every weekday. In addition to my print books, my puzzles are also available for your iPhone or iPad on Stand Alone’s Crosswords for iPhone. E-mail me here.