An Insight into the Journey of the LifeLong Crossword Puzzle Master: Will Shortz

by Carol Lee
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Will Shortz is the renowned name in the field of crosswords.

If you are a crossword enthusiast you would be aware of his achievements. But there are still a few hidden facts you might be hearing for the first time.

In this article, you will get to know a few insights into his journey and his experience being in the crossword industry for so many years.

Love for Words emerged because of his Mother

Since school days, Will Shortz was always curious to solve puzzles. The one with numbers, logic and especially the mystery puzzles were something he couldn’t resist.

The love for crossword emerged because of his mother, who was a writer. Her writing and the way she used to play with the words always inspired him. No one in the family solved crossword puzzles ever.

But it was destined for him. 

After graduating from law school, he devoted his full time in solving and creating puzzles. This was the time when his interest grew in puzzle creation and he thought to pursue his career in the same field.

Professional Journey

Being in Penny Press Puzzle Magazine for seven months, he became an established editor. After gaining experience as an editor, he moved to Games Magazine and worked for 15 years.

The turning point in his career was working with The New York Times. Since 1993, Will Shortz has been a part of The New York Times puzzling journey and is delivering his best to fascinate the readers.

His never-ending love for crossword puzzles

Will Shortz is no more involved in creating “The New York Times” puzzles, instead, they are made by different contributors and submitted to him.

He approximately gets 75-100 puzzles every week. He along with his team look into all the crossword puzzles and then decide which one’s are the best to be published.

When he goes through the puzzle, he makes sure the vocabulary is fresh and familiar to The New York Times readers. The clues he likes and dislikes are addressed by him to his team on paper.

Let’s share an incident where he liked the puzzle.

He was proofreading a puzzle where the clue was ‘When St.Patrick’s day is celebrated’ and the answer – ‘Mid-March.’ Another one was ‘First two time novelist’ and answer – ‘Marie Curie.` 

He seems the clues modern and lively. Something that hadn’t appeared in the crossword puzzle in the past few years.

So, he mentioned these clues on paper and appreciated the constructor.

Academics before Crosswords

The education he gained at the law school helped him in his crossword journey.

It taught him how to handle complex problems, how to divide it into constituent parts, and then deal with it individually.

Besides, it also helped him in teaching the precise usage of language.

He had written over 500 puzzle books but never took help of any agent. He also took up a complete course on intellectual purposes and wrote a paper on copyright protection for puzzles.

Thus being a law student he knew how to use the copyright policy.

The uniqueness of The New York Times Crossword Puzzles

Spending time, solving The New York Times crossword puzzles is worth it. The puzzles are valuable because it includes general clues. Sometimes the answers are connected to the activities that happen with you in your daily lives. 

‘The Weekly New York Times’ crossword on an average has approximately 76 answers covering 76 different topics. If you get stuck on any word, you can try finding it from the crossing letters.

This is a unique way of acquainting yourself with the clues and enhancing your knowledge.

So, solving crosswords can act as a great brain training activity.  Don’t solve the puzzles just for the sake of completing it. Solve a puzzle to add value to your vocabulary and then you’ll find it interesting.

His Contribution to the Crossword World

Will Shortz has completely changed the crossword culture. He feels he is fortunate to have a full-time job that is actually his hobby.  His years of determination and hard in the field of crosswords has given him fame and respect.

Indeed, he deserves that!

Hope we will continue to see more interesting and best crossword puzzles from him in the upcoming years.

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