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The CRUCIVERB Database


Many puzzle constructors and editors have used the Cruciverb Crossword Database for years. With a Gold Membership, so can you!







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What Makes a Good Themeless Puzzle

A CRUCIVERB-L subscriber asked: What makes a good themeless puzzle? Put another way, what will increase the acceptance chances of a themeless puzzle these days?

Brad Wilber, a prolific and skilled constructor of themeless puzzles, responds below:

It depends somewhat on your desired market for your themeless, but keep in mind just how competitive the themeless market is and how selective editors can be. In the last few years, I have often said to myself, "Give them NO reason to say "no' to this."

--Listen to your gut if you have any misgivings at all about a clunky partial or a semi-obscure abbreviation - I feel safe in saying that most themeless specialists have had something declined on the basis of one or two SHORT entries an editor had no interest in using/justifying, even if the longer entries/stacks they facilitated seemed to throw off triumphant sparks. Remember the creative-writing adage of "kill your darlings." Many times people post queries on here looking for reassurance -- or a veto -- about a given entry; just my opinion, but in most cases, you should already be working on alternate fill if you have any qualms at all.

--Check to make sure the percentage of proper names in ... Read More

Crossword Subscriptions


It's nice to have the Today's Puzzles links on the right-hand column, but let's not forget about the subscription-based puzzles out there! If you want quality puzzles by some of the best in the business, look no further. The subscription fees are next-to-nothing, so please give your support and subscribe!


 NEW: CrosSynergy


Name Editor/Constructor Delivery Day Size Cost Action
CRooked Crosswords Cox & Rathvon /  Sunday 21x21 One year - $15.00 Subscribe
Crossword Nation Liz Gorski Tuesday 15x15 One year - 14.99
Two years - 24.99
American Values Club Ben Tausig Thursday 15x15

One year - 20.00

Two years - 36.00

Fireball Crosswords Peter Gordon Thursday 15x15 One Year (45 puzzles) - $26.00 Subscribe
Classic Canadian Crosswords Barb Olson Wednesday 15x15 One Year - $19.99 Subscribe

Puzzle Society Crossword accepting submissions

Publisher: Puzzle Society Crossword
Editor: David Steinberg
Submit via: email (CCW, AL, PDF)
15x15: $110
21x21: n/a
Response Time: Up to 1 month

David Steinberg, puzzle editor

The Puzzle Society Crossword appears in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The San Francisco Examiner, the Orange County Register, and other print and online sources. Here's a link to one such online source:

I'm looking for themed and themeless 15x15 crosswords in any stage of development (including queries), and I encourage new and experienced constructors alike to submit! Although our software can't handle rebuses, circles, shading, or off-sized grids, I'm very open to workarounds for these features.

Pay is $110 per puzzle. Please email your submissions to me at amsxwords AT Crossword Compiler or Across Lite is preferred, though PDF is also okay. If you don't hear back in a month, feel free to follow up.

SF Examiner replaces NYT with Timothy Parker puzzle

From the Not Good News department:

San Francisco Examiner has replaced the NYT syndicated crossword with Timothy Parker!!!

Yes, that's right.

This is a clear indication that newspaper entertainment editors have no "clue" when it comes to crossword puzzles. Solvers deserve an "answer."

For those who are unaware, Timothy Parker was fired as USA Today crossword editor for plagiarizing - blatantly copying New York Times puzzles and publishing them as his own.

If you are bothered by this, please contact the San Francisco Examiner and voice your opinion.

I am resurrecting an old post that provides the details of Mr. Parker's plagiarism. Read below:

Timothy Parker accused of puzzle plagiarism

(this article first appeared two years ago, and has been reposted for context purposes - see article above)

It was bound to happen. And so it has. Timothy Parker, "editor" of the USA Today and Universal crossword puzzles, has been accused of puzzle plagiarism. According to a investigative report by Oliver Roeder, the thematic content has been lifted from puzzles that have previously appeared in venuies such as The New York Times. A kind reader might be inclined to chalk this up to mere coincidence, the only defence that Mr. Parker himself has offered so far. But anyone with an underrstanding of how crossword puzzles are made would be far less likely to accept such an explanation. Here is alink to the Roeder article.You be the judge:

Oliver Roeder's article

Professional crossword constructor Matt Gaffney takes an analytical look at the evidence in his Slate column here:

How to Spot a Plagiarized Puzzle

Timothy Parker has since "taken a step back" from his role as editor for the USA Today and Universal as the publishers investigate.

Problems with CRUCIVERB-L

This message concerns the delivery of the CRUCIVERB-L mailing list messages.

New email-related rules are now being enforced by some of the major ISPs, including Microsoft. This has had a major impact on the operation of mailing lists such as CRUCIVERB-L. I have done everything I can to adhere to the rules, and I was finally able to get Verizon to start accepting mail again. But some ISPs are not lifting their bans, even when a list operator has made all of the necessary configuration changes. Email domains affected include,, There are many more. I believe this affects non-digest (regular) subscribers only.




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