What does it take to make an award-winning crossword puzzle? Eleanor Miranda, the winner of the 2018 Crossword Hobbyist Crossword Scholarship has solved crossword puzzles with her family on a weekly basis for two years. In our interview with her, she’d like to credit the true “Crossword Puzzle Champion of the Universe” with the success of her winning puzzle, “Toon Town,” and share her plans for the future.
How long have you been making and solving crosswords?
I have been solving crosswords for about two years now. In my junior year of high school, I moved to New York to live with my grandmother. At night she would compete with my aunt to see who would be the first to finish their crossword puzzle. If they were both stuck on a question, they would ask for my help. Eventually, they drew me into the competition. That’s when I first began battling to become the “Crossword Puzzle Champion” for that day.
This was the first time that I have created a crossword, and I found it to be both fun and challenging.
In your personal essay, you mentioned your family competes to see who can finish the Saturday crossword first. Which Saturday crossword do you solve?
On Saturdays, we do the Saturday Stumper in the NY Newsday. It is the hardest puzzle of the week, and whoever finishes the stumper first is the “Crossword Puzzle Champion of the Universe.”
Have you ever won the title of “Crossword Puzzle Champion of the Universe”?
Recently, my grandmother passed away and we have retired the title in her name. I would like to declare Gretchen Haberland as the “Crossword Puzzle Champion of the Universe” for life. That would have made her very happy. She got me and my other family members into crosswords. She encouraged me to enter this scholarship contest.
When did you begin drawing and animating?
My family and I moved from Miami to Texas when I was only three years old. During that time, since we were still moving and didn’t have too many of our Disney movies with us yet, my mother would get Sailor Moon and Yu-Gi-Oh from the local library for my sister and me to watch. Automatically, I was hooked. I always tried to draw and recreate my favorite characters on anything I could find. Eventually, as I grew up, that inspiration to draw my favorite characters turned me towards trying to draw my own characters and make stories for each one.
I don’t think I’ve ever posted this before, but @sokilokii and I were talking Boku no Hero Academia and I remembered this. Based off of the third ending of the anime, this was my OC! . . . . . . #anime #animegirls #art #artistsoninstagram #artist #artsy #artoftheday #bokunoheroacademia #myheroacademia #oc #originalcharacter #digitalart #digitalartist #digitalsketch #digitalsketching #digitalsketchbook #digitalsketches #myart #myartwork #myartstuff
With your love of anime and your intent to major in illustration, what are your ultimate career goals?
My plan after college is to, hopefully, get a job as a storyboard artist for both animated shows and movies. I’d like to create my own shows and movies, although I would never say no to working for another animation company before I can go solo. I also want to design and create my own visual novel games independently on the side. Currently, I am in the process of making a game title “Fairy X Imposter” with the demo hopefully coming out early in 2019.
Where can we see more of your work?
I have an Instagram that showcases all of my work. There is also a blog dedicated to the progress of the game I am creating at the moment. All art and character designs I’ve made are and will continue to be on there.
We’re thrilled for Eleanor, and we can’t wait to solve her future crossword puzzles while watching her animated features!
Kristen Seikaly used her artistic background, research skills, and love for the internet to launch her first blog, Operaversity. Now she uses the skills to connect teachers, parents, and game enthusiasts with Crossword Hobbyist and My Word Search. She studied music at the University of Michigan, and now lives in Philadelphia.