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.

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.

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.

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.

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 our friendly support team. On our blog, you can also learn where to submit professional crossword puzzles.

Happy puzzling!

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