Henry Hook (crossword compiler)

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Henry Hook
Born (1955-09-18)September 18, 1955
East Rutherford, New Jersey, U.S.
Died October 27, 2015(2015-10-27) (aged 60)
Known for Crossword puzzles
Spouse(s) Stephanie Abrams (1985-1988, her death)[1]

Henry Hook (September 18, 1955 – October 27, 2015) was an American creator of crossword puzzles, widely credited with popularizing the cryptic crossword in North America. With Henry Rathvon and Emily Cox, he wrote the crossword for the Boston Globe.

Hook began constructing crosswords at age 14, when he sent a rebuttal crossword to Eugene T. Maleska. Maleska's crossword contained the hidden message:

You Have Just Finished The World's Most Remarkable Crossword

Hook's crossword contained the hidden message:

What Makes You Think Your Puzzle Is More Remarkable Than Mine[2]

In 1980, Hook joined the staff of Games. In 1990, CROSSW RD ranked his Hooked on Puzzles #3 the best book of the year;[3] Hook subsequently recused himself from future awards.[4]

Stanley Newman's official website has described one of Hook's puzzles as "one of the toughest crosswords (Newman) has ever published"; Matt Gaffney, the crossword constructor for Slate.com, described meeting Hook as being like "meeting Elvis",[5] while Will Shortz called him "ingenious, (and) a truly brilliant puzzlemaker." [6] He died on October 27, 2015, after a long illness.[7][8]


  1. ^ Crossword blog: farewell to the irascible Henry Hook, by Alan Connor, in the Guardian; published November 2, 2015; retrieved December 17, 2015
  2. ^ Bilger, Burkhard (March 4, 2002). "The Riddler". New Yorker. Archived from the original on March 4, 2002. Retrieved October 31, 2015. 
  3. ^ And the Wynners are: Weng, Hook, Cox, Rathvon, Shenk, Pomerance, and Joline, by Helene Hovanec, in CROSSW RD Magazine; volume 1, number 2; March/April 1991; via Scribd; retrieved February 15, 2017
  4. ^ Letters, by Henry Hook, in CROSSW RD Magazine; volume II number 3 (May-June 1992), via Scribd; retrieved February 25, 2017
  5. ^ Gaffney, Matt (January 25, 2002). "Diary: A Weeklong Electronic Journal: Entry 5". Slate. 
  6. ^ Crossword Elite Put Lots Of Thought Into Little Boxes, by Sam Hodges, in the Orlando Sentinel; published January 3, 1988; retrieved February 15, 2017
  7. ^ Shortz, Will (October 28, 2015). "Remembering Henry Hook". New York Times. Retrieved October 31, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Puzzle maker Henry Hook dies after a long illness". Boston Globe. October 30, 2015. Retrieved October 31, 2015.