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About the Authors

Amy Reynaldo (Editor)

crosswordauthors-0001-amyreynaldo.jpgAmy Reynaldo, the author of How to Conquer the New York Times Crossword Puzzle, is a top-10 finisher at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Her first New York Times crossword byline appeared July 5, 2009. She solves at least three crosswords a day and writes about them at her blog: Diary of a crossword fiend.



crosswordauthors-0008-gayledean.jpgGayle Dean has been constructing crosswords for nearly 30 years. Will Weng published her first puzzle in the early eighties and soon after, her mentor, the late New York Times puzzle editor Eugene T. Maleska, published her second puzzle. Since then, Gayle's puzzles have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post Magazine, U.S.A. Today, Simon & Schuster books, Dell Puzzle Magazines, Random House books, Crosswords for Dummies series, Book of the Month Club books, Brain Games, and Tribune Media Services and Universal Press syndicated websites, among others. Gayle is also the proud creator of the first recorded E-less puzzle (no E's in either the grid or the clues), which appeared in the New York Times on May 4, 1999 and was chosen by Will Shortz to appear in his book "Will Shortz's Favorite Crossword Puzzles".  Gayle's two puzzle books, Wordplay Crosswords Vols. 1 & 2, co-authored with Word Wizard Richard Lederer, were published by Merriam-Webster in 2001 and will be reissued by Marion Street Press in Spring of 2013.

crosswordauthors-0000-harvey-estes.jpgHarvey Estes is a leading crossword constructor. He has had over a hundred puzzles published by NY Times alone, making him the 8th most prolific NYT constructor of all times. Additionally, Harvey's work has also appeared in CroSynergy, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NY Sun, GAMES magazine, etc. He is also one of the contributors to The Crosswords Club, edited by Rich Norris.



Victor Anson Fleming (born December 26, 1951) is an American judge, teacher and author residing in Little Rock, Arkansas. He started constructing crosswords regularly for various newspapers in 2004. Since then, his puzzles have appeared in NY Times, LA Times, NY Sun, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, GAMES magazine, etc.

Of his 27 puzzles in the New York Times, 11 of them have been collaborations with various partners, including Lynn Lempel, Matt Ginsberg and Bonnie L. Gentry.

He appeared in the 2006 documentary Wordplay, which also featured a song that he wrote.

crosswordauthors-0009-rayhamel.jpgRay Hamel has been engaged in crossword puzzle construction since 1979 with more than 2,000 puzzles to his credit in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, New York Sun, Washington Post, Games, and Brain Games. He has created special puzzles for businesses like Universal Studios, Lands End, Volkswagen, and CBS Sports.

Ray has also been a devotee of trivia since hosting his first live trivia show in college. He estimates he has written more than 100,000 trivia questions for a variety of publications and contests since then. His trivia books include Scratch & Solve® Encyclopædia Britannica General Knowledge Trivia (Sterling, 2010), Scratch & Solve® Encyclopædia Britannica Arts and Science Trivia (Sterling, 2010), and The New York Times Trivia Quiz Book (Times Books, 1999).

crosswordauthors-0003-panchoharrison.jpgPancho Harrison. In the waning days of a 35-year career as a performing musician, Pancho happened to see the movie “Wordplay.”  It struck a chord, so to speak. He decided to try his hand at puzzle construction, figuring that writing songs and writing puzzles would likely involve a similar mental process.

After a rough start, Pancho was introduced to Nancy Salomon, a veteran puzzlemaker and mentor to fledgling constructors. She supervised his baby steps with a great deal of patience, but took a shared byline only on his first published puzzle, which Rich Norris used in the LA Times.  And though she contributed considerably to many of his early published puzzles, Nancy would never take credit for her help.

After a year or two, Pancho had broken into most of the available puzzle markets, discovering that his “style” was welcomed by the editors of certain publications more so than others, he began submitting to those editors on a regular basis.  His puzzles have been published by Rich Norris, at the LA Times, Mike Shenk at the Wall Street Journal, John Samson of Simon & Schuster, Jennifer Orehowsky at Games Magazine, Fred Piscop at the Washington Post, Patrick Berry of the Chronicle of Higher Education, Will Shortz of the New York Times, and Bernie Rome of Puzzle Pack.

crosswordauthors-0004-lynnlempel.jpgLynn Lempel is a crossword constructor whose puzzles have been published in GAMES magazine, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and the New York Times. She is also a member of the CrosSynergy syndicate.




Donna Levin began creating crosswords after attending Stan Newman's "Crossword University" in December 2004, sold her first puzzle six weeks later, and has been constructing ever since.

Her creations have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Sun (may it rest in peace), Newsday, Games Magazine and other publications, and as a competition puzzle at the Crosswords LA Tournament. She is a member of CrosSynergy, a by-invitation-only group of constructors that supplies puzzles to The Washington Post, Pogo's Crossword Cove, and PuzzleSocial's Celebrity Puzzles.

Shunning the international fame and glittering jet-set lifestyle that is synonymous with crossword construction (yeah, right!!), Donna lives quietly with her husband Denis in South Florida and devotes time to environmental causes, particularly sea turtle conservation. 

crosswordauthors-0005-alanolschwang.jpgAlan Olschwang started constructing crosswords and various other types of word puzzles in 1994 while working as a attorney. Originally, he created puzzles in longhand, as he didn’t own a computer, but that changed a few years later when he joined the technical revolution. His goal was to have something constructive to do after his retirement. Alan fully retired early in 2011. He's had several thousand puzzles published over the past 18 years by virtually every puzzle publisher.  These include New York Times, LA Times, New York Sun, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, The Chronicle of Higher Education, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, The Uptown Puzzle Club and Crossword Club, Brain Games, Simon & Shuster Puzzle Books, Random House Puzzle Books, Dell Magazines, Penny Press, Games Magazines and others.

crosswordauthors-0006-carlynstewart.jpgCarolyn Stewart is a marble mozaic artist by trade. In 2004 she injured her back and was no longer able to pursue that line of work. Feeling unproductive, she decided to try her hand at constructing crosswords. She studied previously published puzzles and submitted the first ones on graph paper to The New York Times. The third one was accepted and published in December 2006. Since then Carolyn has had puzzles published in The Los Angeles Times as well as the The New York Times.