List of Professional Crossword Writers

professional crossword writers

Cruciverbalist is the official term for a crossword puzzle writer or creator. This term can apply to professionals and amateurs alike. Below is a list of known professional crossword writers, along with their websites or biographies. Many of them have participated in interviews, or offer helpful information on breaking into the field of crossword puzzle creation.


Will Shortz

The famed editor of The New York Times crossword puzzle, he’s the only person in the world with a degree in Enigmatology, the study of puzzles.

David Steinberg

A crossword prodigy, he had a crossword puzzle published in The New York Times at 14 years old. He is the founder of the Pre-Shortizan Puzzle Project.

Brendan Emmett Quigley

A professional puzzlemaker since 1996, his puzzles have appeared in every major market. He is the author of over thirty different books.

Francis Heaney

This cruciverbalist works as the editor for Puzzlewright Press. In addition to crossword puzzles, he also writes puzzle books for trivia, sudoku, word searches, and more.

Peter Gordon

The founder of Fireball Crosswords, he has also written numerous crossword puzzle books. He is the former crossword editor of The New York Sun.

Trip Payne

He edits the Daily Celebrity Crossword application and authored the book Tiptop Crisscross Puzzles, a book containing crossword puzzles with no clues.

Stan Newman

With over 150 crossword and word game books to his name, Mr. Newman also edits the daily crossword for The Newsday.

Tyler Hinman

Although he won’t play Words With Friends with you, he did begin attending the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in 2001. Then he became the youngest champion of the tournament in 2005.

Patrick Blindauer

His first crossword to be published in The New York Times was a “Thursday” crossword. Since then he’s had puzzles published in other famous crossword publications. He also co-hosts the crossword tournament Lollapuzzoola.

Roy Leban

In addition to founding Puzzazz, a site for solving puzzle games, he considers himself a “serial entrepreneur” for starting and selling seven previous startup companies.

Matt Gaffney

His puzzles have appeared in Billboard, The Chicago Tribune, and GAMES Magazine, amongst others. He also authored the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Crossword Puzzles and Word Games.

Ben Tausig

He sold his first puzzle to USA Today in 2004. After several more successful publications, he decided to make puzzles geared towards a younger crowd, leading to the creation of Ink Well.

Patrick Merrell

In addition to making puzzles, Mr. Merrell is a cartoonist, writer, illustrator, and graphic designer. He’s written over 250 books, including 75 puzzle books.

Liz Gorski

She started by making a single set of 20 “Tuesday-level” puzzles, which later led to the creation of Crossword Nation.

Fred Piscop

He’s had over 100 puzzles published in The New York Times. He also worked as the crossword editor for The Washington Post from 2002 to 2008.

Sam Bellotto, Jr.

The founder of the puzzle software Crossdown, he has been making crossword puzzles for most major markets since 1979.

Helene Hovanec

A former elementary school teacher, she has authored 66 puzzle books, the vast majority of which are for children.

Robert Stockton

He founded Beekeeper Labs, a software company that specializes in puzzle software. This includes the crossword maker CrossFire.

Jonathan Zalman

He creates the crossword puzzle for The New Inquiry, and teaches in New York.

John M. Samson

He has edited over 250 crossword puzzle books for Simon and Schuster’s crossword puzzle series. His own puzzles have appeared in a number of places, including the back of a Kellogg’s cereal box.

If there is a professional crossword writer you would like listed here or a current listing that needs updating, please email [email protected]. If you’d like to know more about where to submit professional crossword puzzles, visit our related article here.

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