…about crossword constructors’ other lives. Puzzlemakers are a motley hodgepodge of humanity. Or an impressive cross-section of talent, depending on your style of cluing. Either way, they certainly account for a lot of different occupations.
Perhaps the most common occupations are musician (guitarists, pianists, and what have you) and mathematician (math professors, accountants, and the like). There’s also a decent smattering of writers, editors, and teachers whose facility with language has spilled over into crosswords. But once you get past that, the professions of puzzlemakers seem scattered by the wind.
One can quickly compile a list of constructors with only one name under each of these headings: high school principal, traffic court judge, urologist, reference librarian at a primate research center, matrimonial attorney, bond futures trader, canine behaviorist, movie projectionist, veterinarian, civil engineer, Objectivist, former Russian, (okay, so those last two aren’t occupations), game show writer, bar owner, social psychologist, chaperon for “The All New Dating Game,” war games planner, public-speaking guru, pathologist, used car salesman, library director, pediatric gastroenterologist, forester, metallurgic engineer, plumber, pharmaceutical salesman, drug counselor, web developer, owner of a metal-stamping company, and cartoonist (that’d be me). Oh, yeah, and a few daring souls who actually make a living at being puzzlemakers.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Admittedly, I don’t really know what most of these crossword-constructing people do. When any of us actually meet face to face, the conversation rarely veers far from… well, puzzles.