American Crossword Puzzle Tournament


 Crossword Tournament

In the News

Source: On the Job, CNNfn
Date: March 25, 2002
Byline: Ali Velshi

Business Unusual: Will Shortz

ALI VELSHI, CNNfn ANCHOR, BUSINESS UNUSUAL: From management games for business people to mind games for everyday people. BUSINESS UNUSUAL goes on the job with Will Shortz, crossword editor for the "New York Times."

WILL SHORTZ, CROSSWORD EDITOR, "NEW YORK TIMES": My name`s Will Shortz. I`m the crossword editor for the "New York Times." Puzzles come into me from puzzle makers all across the country. I get puzzle from first time people, people who keep trying again and again and then of course there are regulars who are in the "Times" all the time.

It`s my job to select the best ones, talk with the constructors, write the constructors, tell them what I like, what I don`t like and get them to send me their best work.

In 49 across, he had APA. The clue was psychiatry org. I just don`t like abbreviations in that. So it changed it to Apu. That`s the name on "The Simpsons."

I`ve got a reference book on everything you know and this is the thing on prime time TV shows. Say I need a six letter word with B in the third spot and an A in the fifth spot. It will list them all in one place. This is great for crossword construction. Classical music, movies, World Almanac, that`s got everything in it.

Well the "New York Times" crosswords start easy medium on Monday and they build up to extremely hard on Friday and Saturday. Sunday puzzle is larger than the dailies. The daily "New York Times" crosswords are 15 squares by 15 squares. Sunday crosswords follows the same rules, except it`s 21 by 21 squares or sometimes 23 by 23. But my all time favorite crossword appeared on election day, 1996. It appeared while the voting was going on and the clue for the middle answer across the diagram was lead story in tomorrow`s newspaper.

Now the answer seemed to be or many people filled in Clinton Elected. But the answer could also have been Bob Dole elected. The day the puzzle appeared in the "Times" my phone started ringing immediately. Many people filled in Clinton Elected and thought I was being presumptuous at best and maybe inserting my political views into the puzzle. Then there were people who filled in Bob Dole Elected and thought that I`d made a huge mistake.

I don`t any pride in people saying that they have troubles with the puzzles. Actually what I want, the ideal is for you to be stressed to the limit and then finally break through and finish. Because that brings you the most pleasure and then that`s what brings me the most pleasure.


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