Published crossword enthusiast provides insights into his hobby, goals


Sydney Laput

Adam Aaronson, junior in engineering, talks about his passion with crossword puzzles and having a few of his own published in The New York Times and other publications.

By JP Legarte, Staff Writer

Adam Aaronson, junior in Engineering, already has 10 crossword puzzles published in The New York Times and five more in other major newspapers.

His interest in crossword puzzles first sparked the summer before his senior year of high school when he started to solve crosswords within the Chicago Tribune and online. Since then, he has devoted a lot of time to developing his hobby.

“Like I do with every other hobby, I just sorta got totally obsessed and soaked into it, and I started solving crosswords every day basically and got a New York Times subscription,” Aaronson said.

From devising a theme starting with four or six words to the final step of writing the clues, Aaronson follows a streamlined process for organizing his crosswords, even comparing it to programming.

“My favorite part is probably the process of filling the grid with other words because, in a lot of ways, it’s similar to the process of programming,” Aaronson said. “It’s very much a recursive process, and it’s like you’re solving a puzzle when you’re creating the puzzle in the first place.”

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    His first crossword puzzle was published when he was a freshman. He even remembers where he was when he officially received news of his crossword’s acceptance into The New York Times.

    “I was sitting inside my LING 100 lecture with Professor Ryan Shosted, and then as soon as I got the email, I just — my brain shut off, and I could not pay attention to the rest of the lecture. It was just an amazing moment,” Aaronson said.

    Aaronson noted the beneficial connections between his computer science and linguistic studies and his hobby since he utilizes the same part of his brain during both activities. 

    He referred to the collaborative nature of these connections because working on crosswords stimulates his creative problem-solving skills while allowing him to use his programming abilities to create more crosswords.

    When considering where he wants to go next with his hobby, Aaronson is looking to expand upon what he has already accomplished and even share the knowledge he has learned through his hobby.

    “I’m sort of in talks with my friends about starting a crossword club here on campus, which I think would be really fun but then also coming up with different ways and maybe different platforms to share crosswords online,” Aaronson said.

    He desires to create a better experience for the greater crossword community.

    “There are so many ideas bumbling in my head about different ways that the crossword experience online can be improved, so maybe something like that would be in the future, who knows?” Aaronson said. 

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