Timothy Parker (puzzle designer)

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Timothy E. Parker
Born (1960-04-07) April 7, 1960 (age 56)
Baltimore, Maryland
Nationality American
Occupation TV producer, puzzle editor, games creator

Timothy Eric Parker (born April 7, 1960) is an American puzzle editor, games creator, and TV producer.

Puzzle career[edit]

On May 19, 2003, Parker became the second crossword editor of USA Today following Charles Preston. Parker is also a contributing writer and editor for The Puzzle Society,[1] and is the founder and senior editor of the Universal Uclick line of crossword puzzles and games, which are syndicated around the world both in print and online.

On March 4, 2016, the website FiveThirtyEight, in an article by Oliver Roeder, said it had found similarities between 1,537 of the 15,000 puzzles Parker had edited and published through USA Today and Universal Uclick and ones published by The New York Times and other publishers.[2][3] Ninety-two were similar to ones published by The New York Times and in 699 cases, the previous publisher was either USA Today or Universal.[2]

Parker said he had not deliberately copied any puzzles, and that the repeated themes were coincidental.[4] On March 7, Universal Uclick and USA Today issued statements saying that Parker had temporarily stepped down from his role as senior editor while an investigation into the plagiarism allegations was underway.[5][6]

On April 18, 2016, Universal Uclick announced that it had confirmed some of the allegations and that Parker would take a three month leave of absence. He would "(use) the best available technology to ensure that everything he edits is original."[7] On May 10, 2016, USA Today announced that it would not publish any future puzzles from Timothy Parker, although it would continue to use vendor Universal Uclick.[8] This came after a social media campaign pressuring USA Today to take action against Parker.[9]


In 2006, Parker became the puzzle producer for Merv Griffin's Crosswords.

In 2008, Parker contributed to the ABC prime time television show The Mole.[citation needed] In addition, Parker has created puzzles that have appeared on The View, Access Hollywood and others.


Parker has written or edited over 50 books, a series of puzzle books for the For Dummies brand, 25 digital games, the annual USA Today Crossword Calendar, and the syndicated Family Time Crossword.

Parker co-wrote The Book of Revelation Made Clear with the co-creator of the Left Behind series, Dr. Tim LaHaye.

Awards and recognition[edit]

In May 2000, Parker said he was named "World's Most Syndicated Puzzle Compiler" by Guinness World Records.[10]


  1. ^ "Daily Jumble Crossword: Flash Edition". Retrieved 2016-03-16. 
  2. ^ a b "Plagiarism Scandal Leaves the Crossword Community Puzzled". Atlas Obscura. 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2016-03-06. 
  3. ^ Roeder, Oliver. "A Plagiarism Scandal Is Unfolding In The Crossword World". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2016-03-06. More broadly, 1,090 Universal puzzles and 447 USA Today puzzles were at least a 75 percent match to an earlier puzzle in the database. 
  4. ^ Connor, Alan (2016-03-07). "The great US crossword 'plagiarism' mystery". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  5. ^ "Crossword World in a Ruction (n: 'Uproar') Over Plagiarism Allegations". NBC News. Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  6. ^ DeMara, Bruce. "Crossword plagiarism scandal sidelines puzzle editor". The Star. Retrieved 15 March 2016. 
  7. ^ http://www.universaluclick.com/press/press_release/196
  8. ^ Timothy Parker, Accused Of Plagiarism, Is Out As USA Today’s Crossword Puzzle Editor
  9. ^ Puzzle Company Calls For Boycott Of USA Today, Uclick Over Alleged Plagiarism
  10. ^ Smiley, Tavis (2003-05-22). "Interview: Timothy Parker discusses being the most syndicated crossword compiler in the world and his career creating puzzles". NPR (subscription required). Retrieved 2016-03-06.