We welcome questions, feedback and (especially!) puzzle submissions. Write to series editor Marc Maximov at email@example.com.
The June puzzle is in reaction to the weather—the theme is places Triangle residents might go to cool off in the steamy months ahead. It was created by Carla Frechette and Marya Doery, two puzzle-constructing sisters in the Northeast (Connecticut and Massachusetts, respectively). They were the first to jump in and volunteer a grid when they heard of our series a year ago. While they've been posting a weekly crossword to their own website, World of Crosswords, for more than two years, this is their first puzzle in print. Our short interview with them follows:
What is your city of residence?
Carla: Sharon, Conn.
Marya: Lowell, Mass.
Have you ever been to North Carolina, or specifically to the Triangle area (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill)?
Carla: I have only driven through North Carolina several times on my way to Florida and South Carolina for work, along the I-95 corridor.
Marya: Yes! A dear friend of mine lives in Cary. I visited her there many years ago. We went for a hike on a lovely forest trail.
What are your primary occupations? What are your other hobbies/interests?
Carla: I have been working with show horses for many years, but I am transitioning out of that field. At present, I am working on a degree in computer technology and would like to work in that industry. It's something totally new for me and completely fascinating. A long time ago, I took up the guitar, and I sometimes get to play, although badly. I'm also a big fan of NPR.
Marya: I'm a computer programmer. I love being outdoors, hiking and rock climbing. In fact, North Carolina has some fairly well-known rock climbing spots, and I hope to go there soon!
How long have you been constructing crosswords? Where have they been published?
Carla: I've been constructing in collaboration with my sister for about a year and a half.
Marya: I've been working on creating crosswords for nearly two years now, together with my sister. Typically, I do the task of filling the grid with words, and Carla does the cluing, although we tend to overlap a bit. We both work on creating original theme entries. It's great to have someone to collaborate with and bounce ideas off of.
Our puzzles have been published electronically on our website, World of Crosswords, and also via the Puzzazz iOS app as well as the Standalone Crosswords app for both iOS and Android. INDY Week will be our first publication on physical paper. I'm very excited about this!
How did you first get into crossword solving? And (presumably later) constructing?
Carla: I always enjoyed doing crossword puzzles, along with other cryptograms and brainteasers, since I was a little kid. My family used to get at least two or three newspapers every day, which I used to read almost front to back. That typically involved doing things like crosswords. I started doing the New York Times puzzles in my early teens, when I first fell in love with the Sunday Magazine. Since then, I like solving ones that have things in them I've never heard of, so I learn something new.
Marya: I began solving the New York Times crosswords in my teens, together with Carla. It was such a terrific challenge! As I got older, I had less time for it. Over the last few years, I became interested in constructing, and I decided to build a website where Carla and I could showcase our own crosswords. I admit that the puzzles we constructed were a bit rough at first, but I believe we've become much better over time.
What puzzles/puzzle venues/constructors do you most admire?
Carla: Well, I've always been a fan of the NY Times, but I really enjoy doing ones edited by Peter Gordon. His puzzles tend to be very fresh and clued in non-standard ways, which really make you think. I've been a fan of Frank Longo for a long time. There are so many that come to mind: Elizabeth Gorski, Brendan Emmett Quigley, Patrick Berry, Harvey Estes, Trip Payne. You just know you're going to get a good puzzle with these folks, although there are many more. I also enjoy the Mensa puzzles. While I definitely admire a good theme, I find the themeless ones generally more challenging. Some people don't like to get stuck on a word or corner, but I don't like it when I can fill them in as fast as I can write!
Marya: That's tough, because there are so many! I still find the New York Times to be a great place to get high-quality crosswords, but I also enjoy doing the puzzle in the Boston Globe for a change. In addition, I've had fun solving Ben Tausig's Inkwell crosswords and puzzles in the Washington Post. Now that I have an Android tablet, I find it very handy to be able to bring it places and solve puzzles when I've got some spare time. I still prefer solving on paper when possible, though.