In November, more than 20 constructors from across the LGBTQ+ acronym responded to a simple call: write a crossword puzzle that represents, celebrates, and/or explores any part of the LGBTQ+ community. Our packet features veteran constructors whose work has appeared in the New York Times and other mainstream outlets, new constructors (indicated with an *) who are publishing their very first puzzles in this collection (yay!), and many in between. Our contributors include:
Christopher Adams (he/him/his) publishes his own puzzles weekly at arctanxwords.blogspot.com. He graduated from Cornell University in 2014 with a major in mathematics and minors in physics and creative writing, after which he spent a year abroad teaching physics at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar. When he’s not doing crosswords, you can usually find him working out at the gym, or working out answers at pub trivia. (Just don’t ask him about geography.)
Tracy Bennett (she/her/hers) lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and manages a staff of 18 copy editors for Mathematical Reviews/MathSciNet. She’s been constructing puzzles and getting published at a modest but steady rate for about 6 years. One of her regular gigs is that she makes sexy-edgy puzzles for BUST magazine with an emphasis on feminist, LGBTQ and left-of-center themes and fill. She’s married, she’s a mom, she’s middle-aged, and nevertheless she persists.
Alex Briñas (she/her/hers) is just a wee newbie when it comes to the puzzle-world. Although she was born, raised, and is currently living in New York, pieces of her heart and soul will always live in the Bay Area and Japan. She can often be found doodling, ukulele-ing, skateboarding poorly or, sometimes, getting mistaken for a tweenage boy.
Nate Cardin (he/him/his) is a high school chemistry teacher in Los Angeles, where he lives with his husband, Ben. In his spare time, he enjoys writing crossword puzzles (especially meta puzzles) and has had a few featured recently at Matt Gaffney’s Weekly Crossword Contest and AVCX. Find him on Twitter talking about crosswords, Survivor, or being super gay at @naytnaytnayt.
Alexandra Carter* (she/her/hers) is a white, middle-aged, lower-middle-class, radically intersectional Jewish lesbian feminist. She lives near Washington, DC, but the sea is home. Wordplay makes life worthwhile. She’s been solving crosswords for over 40 years, and this is her first serious attempt at construction. Thanks Chris Adams!
Tyler Fultz (they/them/theirs) is a queer and non-binary human from Silver Spring, Maryland, who’s been obsessed with metas since high school. Tyler is currently a Master’s student in Student Affairs in Higher Education at Colorado State University, and runs a to-be-named business creating mock escape rooms for university groups.
Becca Greenstein* (she/her/hers) leaned over her mother’s shoulder weekly as a kid while she did the Sunday New York Times puzzle and eventually contributed so many answers that she had to have her own puzzle. She currently works as a science librarian. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, social justice, playing with her cat, and baking.
Todd Gross (he/him/his) lives in Mesquite, Nevada. He was a member of GSGRA San Diego (IGRA) about 10 years ago, and Southern Country Austin (IAGLCWDC) and MACT Austin (NABWMT) about 20 years ago. He’s had 15 crosswords published in the New York Times, and almost that many in other publications (Los Angeles Times, Simon & Schuster, Chronicle of Higher Education, etc.). He’s also interested in crossword history and he wrote several pieces for the Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project.
Anna Gundlach (she/her/hers) is a trans woman from Olympia, Washington, and a lifelong puzzle nerd. She’s had a couple of crosswords in the Los Angeles Times a while back, and has only recently gotten back into making puzzles again. She also occasionally messes around with synths and drum machines.
Mark Halpin (he/him/his) is a Stage Designer and university professor whose puzzles have appeared in the New York Times, NPR’s Ask Me Another, Will Shortz’s Wordplay, and The Sondheim Review, for which Mark has constructed over 25 Sondheim-inspired cryptics. A fan of multi-puzzle “extravaganzas,” Mark has contributed dozens of puzzles and metapuzzles to the MIT Mystery Hunt, and has created his own Labor Day mini-hunts for several years. His puzzling illustrations can be seen in Eric Berlin’s Winston Breen book, The Puzzler’s Mansion. Find his puzzles at markhalpin.com/puzzles/puzzles.html.
Elizabeth Hook* (she/her/hers) lives in Washington, DC and works in Earth Science by day. She grew up in a crossword-loving family, and is excited to learn more about crossword construction!
Russ Kale (he/him/his) lives in Wellington, New Zealand, and has spent ten years trying to convert the rest of the country to American crossword puzzles. He currently writes puzzles in his spare time while working for an escape room company. When not doing that, he is working his way through 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
Andrew Kingsley (he/him/his) is a nascent high school English teacher in Boston and enjoys building crosswords outside of school (or while his students take tests) to decompress. He and his colleague run a crossword tournament in late July in Boston called Boswords. If you’re in the area this summer, they’d love to see you there!
Andy Kravis (he/him/his) is a puzzle maker, editor, and former Lambda Legal attorney in Brooklyn, New York. He is one of the co-directors of the Indie 500 Crossword Tournament in Washington, DC.
Jenna LaFleur* (she/her/hers) is transgender and enjoys fluffy cats, indie music, and bad jokes. She originally hails from Washington, DC, but is now a student at UCLA, where she is studying linguistics and computer science. She will be competing at ACPT for the first time in 2018. Find her on Twitter at @jagoandlitefoot.
Claire Muscat (she/her/hers) is a crossword enthusiast/constructor living in Chicago, Illinois. Her puzzles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the American Values Club, and the New York Times crossword app. She identifies as bisexual and is proud to be part of the queer community.
Trip Payne (he/him/his) has been a crossword constructor and editor for over 30 years. He currently edits the puzzles for the popular app Crosswords With Friends. He lives in the Los Angeles area and is both gay and single.
David Quarfoot (he/him/his) (DQ) was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. He now lives in San Diego, where he teaches mathematics, statistics, and mathematics education at UCSD. Outside of crossword construction, he enjoys snowboarding, playing cello/violin, hiking, and watching Super Mario Maker streamers on Twitch/YouTube.
Andrew J. Ries (he/him/his) is a crossword writer living in central Oregon. He currently manages bi-weekly Rows Garden and Freestyle subscription services. His seventh book, Maverick Crosswords, will be released this summer.
Dave Sullivan (he/him/his) and his husband of 25 years, Gary, live in rural Vermont, where they raise chickens, goats, bees and vegetables after many years in the IT field. Dave is very grateful to the puzzling community for their advocacy for the rights of those who are labeled different in any way by our society. For him, home isn’t necessarily where he was raised but among the family of those he loves and is loved by.
Sam Trabucco (he/him/his) is a 25-year-old data scientist originally from crossword-infamous Natick, Massachusetts, now living in fabulous San Francisco, California. He started generating mixed reviews about crosswords in 2015 by including not-safe-for-work references in puzzles for BuzzFeed and the New York Times alike. Besides crosswords, he’s far too into playing board games, sending people ClickHole articles that remind him of them, and reading his friends for FILTH.
Finn Vigeland (he/him/his) is a crossword puzzle constructor by night, urban planning graduate student by day (and also by night, sigh, grad school). After living in the greater New York area his whole life, he moved to Somerville, Massachusetts, in 2017, where he lives across from a climbing gym and a brewery that has board game nights because he’s a #millennial. His puzzles have appeared in the New York Times, Chronicle of Higher Education, BuzzFeed, and Twenty Under Thirty. He taught the JASA crossword class from 2015-2017.