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!
Alina (she/her) is a software engineer at Duolingo. Alina recently acquired crossword shoes that slow down her day because she has to stop and show them to everyone she passes and tell them that there are clues in the insoles (!!). One of her favorite puzzles is this one (“Undercover,” Spyscape, 12/27/20, free), which was also her first acceptance! Alina once used the screen name ellebean (explained by this helpful derivation found in a 2009 email: “elle bean. as in l. bean. as in lima bean. as in lima. as in lina. as in alina”).
Alex (she/her) is a designer, ice cream aficionado, and proud parent of composting worms. She’s made some puzzles here and there and is also Inkubator Crosswords’ resident design-person; you can solve one of her puzzles here (“Period Piece,” Inkubator, 5/21/20, $). She once used the screen name alego811 (see: lifelong LEGO obsession).
Becca (she/her) is a Clinical Educator Specialist at McLean Hospital. She has had crosswords published by Universal, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and other places! You can solve one of her favorite puzzles here (“Trail Mix,” American Values Club, 10/28/20, $). Becca once used the username unprotectedbex.
Soleil (she/her) is an incoming college freshman. She, self-admittedly, constructs too few crossword puzzles while leaving far too many movies and TV shows half-watched. Soleil is quite proud of her recent feature on 7xwords (7/24/21, free) which you can solve here. Soleil once changed her Instagram handle to @everybodysbff1234567.
Margaret (she/her) is an analyst at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and proud Midwesterner. She writes crosswords for the New York Times, Atlantic, and occasional puzzle hunt. You can solve one of her favorite puzzles here (The Atlantic, 3/7/21, free). Margaret once used the screen name vegmeg922.
Priyanka (she/her) is an aspiring academic, plant mom, and management consultant — in that order. She started writing crosswords as a pandemic hobby, and now makes them for team events at work and wherever else she can find a willing audience. You can solve one of her favorite puzzles here (“Curb Appeal,” Inkubator, 5/6/21, $). Priyanka is a self-aware nerd and has, on occasion, used the screen name bookworm189.
Ann (she/her) s a recent grad from the University of Washington. She started writing crosswords last year to cope with how bad she is at solving them. Hopefully you have a smoother experience solving her debut puzzle here (NYT, 3/3/21, $). Her email username was once emeraldshann.
Nina (she/her) is an ever enthusiastic, frequently frenetic, deceptively dramatic New Yorker. She is an undergraduate student at Dartmouth College, where she can be found binding books, arranging music for her a cappella group, and of course, solving and constructing crossword puzzles. You can solve a favorite puzzle co-written by Nina here (“Cold Cuts,” WSJ, 12/21/21, free). Nina’s Minecraft username was once ArtsyBookworm1 — the funniest part is that “ArtsyBookworm” was already taken (so she added the 1). The only thing worse than an embarrassing screen name is an embarrassing screen name that someone else beat you to.
Kyra (she/her) is a neurolinguistics researcher in Abu Dhabi. She started making crosswords in 2019, and has been amusing herself at home over the past year by continuing to construct and publish at various outlets. You can solve a favorite puzzle by her and her frequent co-constructor Sophia Maymudes here (NYT, 6/3/21, $). Kyra once used (and embarrassingly has not fully retired yet) the screen name countrygirl411.
Erica Hsiung Wojcik
Erica (she/her) is a psychology professor at Skidmore College who knows a ton about how babies learn language, Beyoncé, and breakfast foods. She created and moderates the Expanded Crossword Names database and writes crosswords for the USA Today, as well as other outlets. You can find and solve one of her favorite puzzles, here (“Themeless #21,” Inkubator, 7/15/21, $). Erica once used the screen name CaesarEW.