When I'm out I often see people in restaurants and coffee shops perusing the Indy.
Many are immersed in one of the news and culture stories; some are reading Free Will Astrology aloud to their dining partners. (I resist the urge to approach them and say, "You know that's fiction, right?") And others are doing the crossword puzzle.
The crossword is a polarizing force in the Indy. Some people love it; others vehemently hate it. And my response to the haters is, "Hey man, we don't write the crossword."
Well, now we do write the crossword—once a month.
Marc Maximov, a longtime Indy freelance writer, will edit and sometimes construct the puzzles, known as Solve Locally.
A lifelong puzzle fan, Maximov has competed in the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament since 1999. Since moving to Durham, he has won two second-place trophies in the South region (though his proudest moment was winning an award for neatest handwriting in 2001).
He is also a longtime member of the National Puzzler's League, which formed in 1883 before the dawn of crosswords, and whose members delight in the most abstruse puzzles known to man.
With Solve Locally, he hopes to stir up a rowdy mob of local word freaks to form a self-sustaining Triangle grid scene.
Maximov is more than a crossword impresario. He hosts a regular soiree of parlor card and board games. He made a documentary about his granddad, an origami connoisseur. He used to drive a pedicab in New York City. He is a sound designer for theatrical plays. Maximov is the king of esoterica, drawing from his vast knowledge and weird life experiences in curating the puzzle.
This article appeared in print with the headline "Four-letter word for newspaper."