Will Shortz

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Will Shortz
Will Shortz 2006.jpg
Will Shortz in October 2006
Born (1952-08-26) 26 August 1952 (age 62)
Crawfordsville, Indiana, U.S.
Education B.A. in Enigmatology, 1974
Indiana University,
J.D., 1977 University of Virginia
Occupation Crossword editor
table tennis center owner
Notable credit(s) New York Times Puzzle Editor (since 1993), NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday Puzzle master (since 1987)

Will Shortz (born 26 August 1952 in Crawfordsville, Indiana) is an American puzzle creator and editor, and currently the crossword puzzle editor for The New York Times.

Early life and education[edit]

Will Shortz was born and raised on an Arabian horse farm[1] in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Graduating from Indiana University in 1974,[2] he is the only person known to hold a college degree in enigmatology,[3] the study of puzzles. Shortz achieved this feat by designing his own curriculum through Indiana University's Individualized Major Program.[4] He also earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law (1977), though he forewent the bar exam and began a career in puzzles instead.[5]

Career[edit]

Shortz began his career at Penny Press Magazines,[5] then moved to Games magazine for 15 years, serving as its editor from 1989–1993. He has been the crossword puzzle editor for The New York Times since 1993 (the fourth in the paper's history, following Eugene Thomas Maleska), and has been the puzzle master on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday since the program was started in 1987. He is the founder of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (1978), and has served as its director since that time. He founded the World Puzzle Championship in 1992 and is a director of the U.S. Puzzle Team.

Shortz is the author or editor of more than 100 books and owns over 20,000 puzzle books and magazines dating back to 1545, reportedly the world's largest private library on the subject.[6] Shortz is a member of the National Puzzlers' League. He is currently the league historian.

Shortz provided the puzzle clues which The Riddler (Jim Carrey) leaves for Batman (Val Kilmer) in the film Batman Forever.[7]

On his 50th birthday, Shortz received a personal note from former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who is a fan of The New York Times crossword puzzle.[6]

As crossword editor of the New York Times, Shortz has said that his favorite crossword of all time is the Election Day crossword of 5 November 1996, designed by Jeremiah Farrell. It had two correct solutions with the same set of clues, one saying that the "Lead story in tomorrow's newspaper (!)" would be "BOB DOLE ELECTED", and the other correct solution saying "CLINTON ELECTED".[8] His favourite individual clue is "It might turn into a different story" (whose solution is SPIRAL STAIRCASE).[9]

Shortz currently resides in Pleasantville, New York, where he works from home. Shortz is an avid table tennis player; in May 2011, with Barbadian champion (and his long-time friend) Robert Roberts,[10] he opened one of the largest table tennis clubs in the Northeast in Pleasantville.[11]

In February 2009, Shortz helped introduce the KenKen puzzle into The New York Times.[12]

In 2013, Shortz lent his name and talents in both puzzle writing and editing to a new bimonthly publication entitled Will Shortz' WordPlay, published by PennyPress.[13]

Publicity[edit]

Shortz at the 2011 Boston Crossword Puzzle Tournament

The 2006 documentary Wordplay by Patrick Creadon focuses on Shortz and the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Various famous fans of his puzzles such as Bill Clinton, Ken Burns, Jon Stewart, Daniel Okrent, Indigo Girls and Mike Mussina appear in the film.[14]

Shortz has been a guest on a number of TV shows, including Martha Stewart Living, Oprah,[15] The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report. He has also appeared on Millionaire as an expert for the "Ask the Expert" lifeline.[16]

He appeared on an episode of The Simpsons titled "Homer and Lisa Exchange Cross Words", which first aired on 16 November 2008.

He appeared in Dinner: Impossible as himself, challenging the chef to create dishes that mimic common English idioms at the annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. The episode aired on 6 May 2009.[17]

He also appeared on an episode of How I Met Your Mother titled "Robots Versus Wrestlers", which first aired on 10 May 2010 during season 5. He appeared as himself at an upscale dinner party that included Arianna Huffington and Peter Bogdanovich, also playing themselves.[18]

Shortz is a weekly guest on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday where he hosts the Sunday Puzzle, a cooperative game between the show's host and one of the show's listeners. The lucky player is picked randomly from a group of submissions containing the correct answer to a qualifier puzzle issued the week before.[19]

Honors and awards[edit]

Shortz gave the commencement address at his alma mater, Indiana University, in May 2008.

In May 2010, Shortz was given an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Wabash College in Indiana.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About Will Shortz". NPR. 
  2. ^ "Puzzlemaster Will Shortz to present IU's 2008 commencement address". 1 April 2008. 
  3. ^ "New York Times crossword editor to give "puzzling" lecture at IU". Indiana University. 29 March 2000. 
  4. ^ "Individualized Major Program". Indiana.edu. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  5. ^ a b "University of Virginia news item". Virginia.edu. 2008-04-03. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  6. ^ a b "Puzzle pundit has a word", Australian Courier-Mail, 28 October 2006
  7. ^ IMDB Entry for "Batman Forever"
  8. ^ American Crossword Puzzle Tournament: "Business Unusual: Will Shortz"
  9. ^ Thompson, Clive. "New York Magazine". Nymag.com. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  10. ^ Dewi Cooke; Chitrangada Choudhury. "Double Happiness". 
  11. ^ Reilly, Kathleen. "Weschester Table Tennis Center Debuts in Pleasantville". AOL Patch. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  12. ^ Stephey, M. J. "Puzzle Guru Will Shortz." Time 2 Mar. 2009. 15 June 2009 <http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1882455,00.html>
  13. ^ PennyPress official page for WILL SHORTZ' WORDPLAY
  14. ^ Wordplay at the Internet Movie Database
  15. ^ The Oprah Winfrey Show: "How'd They Do That?"
  16. ^ "Will on Millionaire Wednesday". YouTube. 2008-11-26. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  17. ^ TV.com (2009-05-06). "TV.com". TV.com. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  18. ^ "Listings | TheFutonCritic.com - The Web's Best Television Resource". TheFutonCritic.com. 2010-05-10. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  19. ^ "Sunday Puzzle". Npr.org. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  20. ^ "Wabash College: News Crawfordsville, Indiana". Wabash.edu. 2010-05-16. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 

External links[edit]