Who Do You Want to See in Crosswords? Make Yourself Heard!

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Crosswords have long been considered the domain of older white men. It’s a stigma on the entire industry, one that has sadly been encouraged by years and years of non-inclusive thinking.

Thankfully, the wheels of change are in motion. We still have a long way to go, but the push for greater representation has never been more aggressive or possessed more momentum than it does right now.

Outlets like Queer Qrosswords, Women of Letters, and The Inkubator are all encouraging female constructors, constructors of color, and LGBTQIA+ constructors. Editors like Erik Agard and David Steinberg are actively recruiting new voices, while constructors like Rebecca Falcon continue to advocate for greater exposure.

But representation isn’t just needed behind the scenes. It’s needed within crosswords themselves. The cluing and the grid entries should also reflect our incredibly diverse, colorful, ever-evolving, spectrum-spanning society.

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We wrote about this in November when The Pudding published the results of a statistical analysis of commonly referenced people in crossword answers.

Well, now there’s a way for you to not only push for greater inclusion, but to actually make suggestions: The Expanded Crossword Name Database.

A Google Form has been created where you can submit the names of women, non-binary individuals, trans individuals, or people of color that you’d like to see in crosswords. They can be contemporary people or historical figures.

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This is one of the coolest things about the Internet. We can crowd-source our ideas and get feedback instantly.

I reached out to Erica Wojcik, who is spearheading the ECND, and she said that there have been over one hundred new submissions in the last week alone!

Click here to check out the form AND to submit your suggestions. You should only submit one name at a time, but you can submit as many times as you like!

I can’t wait to see what sorts of submissions are sent to the ECND. What a marvelous way for everyone to expand their vocabularies and work for greater inclusion in crosswords.

Who would you like to see appear as crossword answers, fellow puzzlers and PuzzleNationers? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to submit them to the ECND! We, and they, would love to hear from you.


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Can You Decode This Colonial Chicken Scratch?

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We’ve joked in the past about how bad or unclear handwriting can create quite the puzzly experience. Well, if you have a knack for deciphering the scribblings of others, then there’s a gig waiting for you in North Carolina.

The State Archives of North Carolina are looking to transcribe dozens of documents from the colonial period, and they’ve turned to crowd-sourcing to accomplish this meticulous, Herculean task.

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[One example of a crowd-sourced translation.]

Among the many documents are contracts, reports, records, and more, some of which concern local business dealings, and even the slave trade.

According to the organizers, “The handwriting can be quirky and the terms antiquated. Transcribing them will be like solving a word puzzle.”

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It’s an impressive project that has already attracted numerous volunteers, but there’s plenty of work to be done. And as you can see, some pages are in far worse shape than others.

You can save a few pages of work as a guest translator or sign up to be part of the team and contribute more to the endeavor.

For more information, or to try your hand at some freelance puzzly transcription, click here!


Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on everything PuzzleNation!

You can also share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and explore the always-expanding library of PuzzleNation apps and games on our website!