Move Over Will Shortz—An English Major Debuts a ‘Times’ Puzzle (‘The New York Times’)

Quick, what’s a four-letter word for “haggis ingredient”?

That’s one of the clues in today’s New York Times crossword puzzle—written by Andrew Kingsley ’16 and edited by the Times’ famed puzzle editor, Will Shortz. (To try your skill with the puzzle, you need a subscription—or to find an old-fashioned print version of today’s paper.)

“This Times debut puzzle by Andrew Kingsley has some great stuff in it,” writes Deb Amlen in the Times’ Wordplay blog. “The price you will have to pay to see that great stuff is that you will have to be more careful and think more about what you enter.”

According to the blog post, it took a full year from the time Kingsley submitted his puzzle to the Times to see it in print. “The seed entry for this puzzle, POPCORN BRAIN, ironically got the puzzle rejected when I first submitted it. So I substituted PASSION FRUIT and redid the bottom half of the grid, and voila! I got THE RAVEN and EASY READ out of it, so the English major in me was pleased,” Kingsley writes on the blog.

A major in English and film and media studies, the Dedham, Mass., native says he started constructing his own original crosswords in high school, with encouragement from his calculus teacher. At Dartmouth, Kingsley writes on the blog that he is “working on a thesis focusing on the cross-pollination of cinema and literature at the end of the nineteenth century. When I’m not writing or building crosswords, I enjoy improv comedy, film criticism and table tennis.”

Commenters on the blog expressed enthusiasm for Kingsley’s effort. “Definitely on the easy side for a Friday but so incredibly enjoyable I didn’t mind at all,” writes one puzzle-doer. “There are so many fresh answers throughout the grid, it's like finding a brand new penny at every corner.”

Writes Kingsley, “Will, I’m coming for you!”

Read the full story, published 4/28/16 by The New York Times Wordplay blog.