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

Will Shortz is the name every crossword lover has heard. Here are a few insights into his journey and what he says about the crossword puzzle experience.
He feels he got the love for words from his mother, who was a writer. No one in the family solved crossword puzzles; he picked that himself. Since school days, all types of puzzles attracted him. But the ones with numbers, logic, mystery puzzles were the most likable.

When he graduated from law school, he went straight into puzzles. He was an editor for Penny Press Puzzle Magazine and worked there for seven months. Then he went to Games Magazine and worked for 15 years. And now he is at the New York Times since 1993.

His never-ending love for crossword puzzles

Will Shortz now doesn’t make “New York Times” puzzles himself. They are made by different contributors and submitted to him. He gets approximately 75-100 puzzles every week. He and his team look into all of the crossword puzzles and then decide which ones are the best.

When he explores new words, he makes sure the vocabulary is fresh and familiar to New York Times readers. He points out things that he likes and the ones he doesn’t on paper.

For example, there is a puzzle he likes. The clue is ‘When St.Patrick’s day is celebrated’ and the answer ‘Mid-March.’ Another one is ‘First two time novelist’ and answers ‘Marie Curie.` There is ‘trash mouth’ that is ‘one spewing obscenities.’ For him, this is a modern, lively, colorful, and something that didn’t appear in the crossword in the past few years.

Every interesting crossword puzzle doesn’t have all the right elements. Sometimes there are a word or two that makes it boring. But he ignores them if the complete puzzle is more than average.

Academics before crosswords

The education he gained at the law school proved helpful. It teaches how to handle complex problems, divide them into constituent parts, and then deal with it individually. Besides, it also helps in teaching the precise usage of language.

He had written over 500 puzzle books but never used an agent. The law school enabled him to do that. He also took up a complete course on intellectual purposes and wrote a paper on copyright protection for puzzles. That is because he knows copyright law better than anyone.

The uniqueness of New York Times crossword puzzles

The New York Times crossword puzzles are valuable because they touch every aspect of life, and connect you with the things that you will never explore on your own.

‘The Weekly New York Times’ crossword on an average has approximately 76 answers covering 76 different topics. If there is a word you think you are unable to figure out, you can try finding it from the crossing letters.

This is a unique way of acquainting yourself with the necessary things that you otherwise don’t come in contact with. So, the crossword is a good training for your mind and an amazing teaching tool. Do a puzzle to enjoy it, only then you feel it will be interesting.

Will Shortz has changed the complete crossword culture. He feels he is lucky because he is one of those few who love their jobs.  He has worked really hard to gain respect, and he owns it completely. Hope we will continue to see more interesting and best crossword puzzles from him in the upcoming years.