111. Rejected New Yorker Cover

January 10, 2009

Someone recently asked me about my rejected 2003 cover for The New Yorker, so I figured I’d put it up here. Everything you need to solve the crossword is in the illustration.nyerreject1

106. Christmas Crossword

December 1, 2008

I realize it’s still 25 days until Christmas, but stores have been playing Christmas music for a month already, so I figure it’s time to offer up this all-new Yuletide crossword.

PDF download

Across Lite download (look for “Xmas ’08” in the right column)

96. Crossweird

June 9, 2008

A new post… about an old crossword puzzle. It appeared four years ago in the Los Angeles Times (June 8, 2004). It’s probably the most peculiar theme I’ve had for a puzzle, and one which has elements that might not all be entirely apparent at first. Download a pdf HERE or click on this LINK to download it in Across Lite from my website. I’ll include a few notes about the puzzle after the cut… Read the rest of this entry »

78. Super Bowl Puzzles

February 15, 2008

An Across Lite version of my Sports Illustrated Super Bowl crossword can be found here: SUPER BOWL. It’s an easy 13×13 puzzle that appeared the week prior to the event.

This additional trivia challenge can be solved when you look at the answer grid (link below) and unscramble the letters in the tan squares (WARNING! The 2-word answer is directly below the crossword answer grid — scroll down carefully):

What team with a winning Super Bowl record has been outscored by its opponents 148-107?

The crossword answer and two other, tougher Super Bowl puzzles (an acrostic and word search) can be found here: S.I. PUZZLES

75. SI Puzzles

January 31, 2008

sicover.jpgFor puzzle-solving sports fans, I’ve got a Super Bowl crossword in this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated (the Super Bowl XLII issue pictured here). I haven’t seen the final layout or the magazine itself, but I hear it will be on newsstands today, Thursday (no online version).

Monday afternoon, they also asked me to put together two bonus Super Bowl puzzles for their website (an acrostic and word search), and those went up Wednesday morning. They can be found here — BUT BE WARNED, the answer grid to the magazine’s crossword appears big as day right below the download link: Sports Illustrated bonus puzzles

66. Squares # 23: Puzzles of Christmas Past

December 22, 2007


Unwrap the presents Ashen & Noir are giving:
Friday, Christmas Eve ’04 from the LA Times (pdf)
Wednesday, Christmas Day ’02 from The NY Times (pdf)

Or Across Lite versions of both: HERE

(Ashen is regifting a Christmas Eve present for Boxing Day.)

56. Bonus Mini-Crossword

November 27, 2007

Here’s a warm-up crossword (click the box to download a pdf):


It uses the same concept as the one in the December
issue of Scientific American (click to visit their site):


54. In BOXeS crossword

November 21, 2007


The December issue of Scientific American, with my annual two-page crossword puzzle, is on newsstands now.

PDF downloads of both the ORIGINAL and a HARDER version, as well as the answers, can be found here: In BOXeS.

The HARDER version lacks some visual elements that are present in the ORIGINAL (same as the magazine) version, but is the same otherwise.

51. Scientific Crosswords

November 15, 2007

sciamlogo1.jpgThe December issue of Scientific American, with my annual crossword puzzle, is imminent. In case you missed either of the previous offerings, they’re still available online here:

47. Off the Wall Puzzle

November 9, 2007

Direct from the walls of the Overlook Lounge on Manhattan’s upper east side — a crossword puzzle! Two years ago this month, the promise of free food was all it took to lure members of the National Cartoonists Society into the restaurant to decorate their walls. My contribution was a crossword puzzle (being peed on by Dondi, I’m proud to point out). Click on the image to enlarge it. Mike Lynch has additional pictures of all three walls. overlookxword1.jpg
Another cartoon wall in the same restaurant, done in the ’60s, can be seen on the Chris “Hägar the Horrible” Browne’s site.

41. Pleasantville Wrap-up

October 27, 2007

clock.jpgA sizeable flock of contestants braved the clammy weather Friday night to test their wits at the 11th annual crossword tournament in Will Shortz’s hometown of Pleasantville, NY. The room was filled with both individual and doubles team competitors, puzzlemaker types who hovered as judges, and enough baked goods to feed the town’s middle school. Next week’s Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday NY Times puzzles winnowed the field down to three finalists — Nancy Taubenslag, “Jeffurry” Schwartz, and the eventual champ at solving Thursday’s puzzle on the big easels, Bob Mackey!

Afterward, a small parade of the crossword faithful made their way over to Will’s house for more snacks. A fine spread of Doritos, Lay’s potato chips, dip, carrots, cookies, soda, and beer were laid out. I assume Will provided his traditional house and puzzle collection tour for the uninitiated, but since it’s so close to Halloween, I headed home before the witching hour. All in all, another highly successful installment of this very friendly and fun annual event, with proceeds benefiting the town’s Fund for Learning.

31. Sting’s Birthday (free crossword)

October 1, 2007

stingcoversm.jpgIn honor of Sting’s October 2nd birthday, here’s a Sting crossword. It was commissioned as a birthday present for him two years ago by his manager, Kathy Schenker: [PDF version] • [Across Lite]

Sting is an avid solver of The New York Times and The Times of London crossword puzzles when not dabbling in music. Preceding and somewhat overlapping both those pursuits were brief stints as a bus conductor, construction worker, dump truck driver, tax officer, and Catholic school teacher in a small coal-mining village.

Sting’s memoir, Broken Music, is worth a try. Intelligently and evocatively written, it chronicles his journey toward becoming a professional musician. Also worth checking out is Michael Apted’s excellent documentary, Sting — Bring on the Night. (Picture: Sting in the sweater that earned him his nickname)

[PDF puzzle answer] including complete explanation

21. Puzzling Thoughts…

September 5, 2007

about favorite clues. A couple of recent posts here got me thinking about my favorite crossword clue that I’ve written. Not the best or funniest or cleverest, just my favorite. This is the clue: Extinct Namibian shrub genus: Var.

Pretty bad, isn’t it? But there’s a reason for that. There are also a few interesting incidents surrounding the puzzle in which it appeared (NYT, January 15, 2004). You can try the puzzle if you’d like [CLICK HERE for a PDF] or just read on. Sorry, Across Lite won’t work for it. Read the rest of this entry »

15. Utter Nonsense (free crossword)

August 22, 2007

This is a crossword I wrote several years ago for the judges at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (coming to Brooklyn February 29, 2008). It was adapted from a joke that Pete Barbutti told years ago on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. The focus of Pete’s joke was a banjo player.
Download a PDF: utternonsense.pdf PDF answer: utteranswer.pdf
Across Lite download: [CLICK HERE]


August 8, 2007

The latest issue of Syracuse University Magazine features an article about fellow S.U. grad and crossworder David J. Kahn. A Sunday-size, Syracuse-themed Kahn crossword accompanies it.
Online article: [CLICK HERE] Download puzzle pdf: [CLICK HERE]
Puzzle answer: [CLICK HERE]   Across Lite download: [CLICK HERE]