On Crossword and ‘Wordplay’

Deb Amlen is the head writer and senior editor of “Wordplay,” the crossword column of The New York Times, where she’ll teach you how to be a better solver while also making you laugh. She’s particularly well-suited to this work.

The author of the humor book It’s Not PMS, It’s You!, Deb got her start in crosswords making puzzles for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other newspapers. She’s also been a senior columnist for Yahoo! Tech, where she wrote the humor column “Buzzology,” and was on the original constructing team that made crosswords for The Onion’s A.V. Club.

We connected for this episode because Deb was gracious enough to take some time for host Ted Fox, one of those ill-fated souls who loves solving—or more accurately, attempting to solve—The New York Times crossword puzzle most days of the week. Their conversation wound its way from puzzles as a form of creative expression and even a metaphor for handling the challenges of life to more practical matters like how crosswords are constructed and strategies for getting better at them. And on that getting better note, let us just say:

Beware the rebus.

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About the Podcast:

“With a Side of Knowledge” is a podcast produced at the University of Notre Dame. It features interviews with fascinating people from both Notre Dame and elsewhere that take place over brunch—or if we’re really in a pinch, coffee.

August 27, 2020

Art and HistoryDeb AmlenNew York TimesCrosswordPuzzlesGamesWordplayNotre DamepodcastWith a Side of Knowledge