Who is Lollapuzzoola?

You may only see a few faces in front of the show, but it takes a village to bring Lollapuzzoola to life. We’ve got a superstar village – if you have the time, check out their links, follow them on social media, and find out where you can enjoy more of their work!


Brian Cimmet

Tournament Director

Brian (he/him) co-founded Lollapuzzoola in 2008 and is thrilled (and somewhat shocked) to see it still thriving today. He is the co-host of “Fill Me In,” a weekly podcast about crosswords, puzzles, trivia, and a variety of other things that can’t be rationally explained. Keep up with the podcast on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. His first screen name (on IRC, ca. 1993) was Skittles. He is pictured here with his son, who asked whether OSCAR can be put into every grid in the tournament.

Brooke Husic

Co-Editor, Co-Host, Constructor

Brooke (she/her) is a postdoc and curator of Spotify playlists. She writes very challenging crossword puzzles for her xwords by a ladee blog, loves to cameo/collab on other indie sites, and contributes very easy puzzles to the USA Today crossword. This is her second year constructing for Lollapuzzoola, first time hosting, and umpteenth time collaborating with Sid. Before she realized she’d be 5’5 forever, her screen name was bballstar93418.

Sid Sivakumar

Co-Editor, Co-Host, Constructor

Sid (he/him) is an MD/PhD student and word nerd who edits The Juggernaut Crossword and runs his own indie puzzle site, Sid’s Grids. This is his second time constructing for Lollapuzzoola, and first time hosting, after having placed dead last in 2019 … so clearly, anything is possible. Sid’s first screen name was juxtapositioned, a word he played in Scrabble across three triple-word-score boxes. (He was ten years old. He stole the letters from the bag. Everyone saw.)

Wyna Liu

Constructor

Wyna (she/her) is an associate puzzle editor at the New York Times and an assistant editor at American Values Club Crossword. Her puzzles have run in The New Yorker, NYT and AVCX. She’s been attending Lolla since 2009, and thinks maybe this year she’ll crack the metas. Her first screen name was Betty148 (AOL, ca. ’94), and the other one she remembers is Igglybuff. Find Wyna on Instagram, Twitter, and on wynaliu.com.

Amanda Rafkin

Constructor

Amanda (she/her) is an Associate Puzzle & Games editor at Andrews McMeel Universal and a musical theater pianist. Appropriately, she very much enjoys puzzles and games, as well as pretty much all of the performing arts. Amanda’s first AIM screen name was hypergirl102 until she lost her vim and vigor at age 14 and did a big U-turn to the screen name h2sdarkness.

Patti Varol

Constructor

Patti (she/her) is Executive Editor at PuzzleNation, overseeing and editing Crosswords Club and Daily POP crosswords. She is also co-founder and editor of Women of Letters, the second volume of which is due to be released in late 2021. Patti won the Local division at Lollapuzzoola 7 and has been an enthusiastic puzzle tester for Lollapuzzoola ever since; this is the second puzzle she has constructed for the tournament. Patti has been known to lurk and play online games with the handle HandmdnofChaos. She still thinks “Handmaiden of Chaos” will make an excellent blogger name if she ever has enough free time to blog.

Robyn Weintraub

Constructor

Robyn (she/her) has been constructing crosswords for more than a decade. She is a member of the in-house puzzle team at The New Yorker and a regular contributor to the New York Times. This is her third puzzle for Lollapuzzoola. Robyn’s very first screen name in her first internet chat group in 1984 was Gizmo (named for the cute gremlin in the movie Gremlins). Unfortunately because of the movie’s popularity that chat group already had a bunch of “Gizmos” and she was kicked out.

Nam Jin Yoon

Tiebreaker Constructor

Nam Jin (he/him) is a law librarian living in New York City. His puzzles have appeared in the New York Times, 7xwords, and Sid’s Grids. Nam Jin once also went by the screen name njgod0506 as a tribute to the early-aughts k-pop band g.o.d.


We’re super excited for this bonus event this year, the Mid-day Multi Mini Meta Mayhem! This collection of puzzles was coordinated by Brooke Husic and created by a team of ten wonderful constructors. You may have seen some of their names on national bylines, perhaps some guest starring on indie blogs. Keep an eye on them, friends — these folks are the next wave! Read more about them here.