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I made my hobby into a career. The hobby? Crossword puzzles. In fact, I was still in grad school at Columbia University when I began my career as a professional puzzle constructor. I then went on to become an author and historian on the subject. I am the author of Crossword Puzzles for Dummies (Wiley), What's Gnu? A History of the Crossword (Vintage), and Four-Letter Words: Secrets of a Crossword Insider (Perigee; available on Kindle).


Currently, I serve on the judges panel at the annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Plus, I'm providing the Foreword to a reissue of the first crossword collection, scheduled for release on its centenary in 2024. 

According to my Dad I inherited the gene from his father, who got hooked on solving when puzzles arrived in 1920s London. The passion skipped my father and I discovered it through Will Weng's crosswords in The NY Times. Weng's successor, Eugene Maleska, published my first puzzles and that put me on an exciting and fun-filled career path. I became the assistant to Columbia Universitiy Professor Emeritus Eugene Sheffer, the puzzle constructor for King Features.

After King Features I took on the role of editor and publisher of the Herald Tribune Crossword magazines, which led to Kappa Puzzles where I was president and publisher for scores of popular puzzle magazines including the ground-breaking Games magazine.

I've taught courses on improving solving skills at the New School in New York City, and given talks on the history of the crossword puzzle on radio and television as well as in person around the world including to the staff at Nikoli, the publishing house that launched sudoku. 


I consider myself an 'acrossionado,' a term I coined to describe those of us who can't resist puzzles.