It’s funny how crosswords can seem like a solitary pursuit — and are often depicted as such in pop culture — and yet, there’s such a sense of camaraderie that comes with being a solver.
I talk a lot about the PuzzleNation community and my fellow PuzzleNationers, or about the puzzle community in general, because it’s one of my favorite aspects of being a puzzle guy.
Whether it’s engaging in a puzzly activity with friends (like an escape room or a D&D adventure), hanging out with fellow puzzlers at events like the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (registration is open now!), or just teaming up with a pal to crack a particularly devious puzzle or brain teaser, those moments of shared experience are as encouraging as they are welcome.
So it’s very cool to see one of the newer parts of the puzzle community celebrating its one-year anniversary: The Crossword Puzzle Collaboration Directory.
This Facebook group is part gathering place for established and aspiring constructors and part resource for constructors of all skill levels.
Over the last year, people have posted and shared information about everything from grid construction, editing programs, and cluing advice to networking, test-solving, and encouraging feedback.
[Some constructors even offer visual aids when answering questions!]
Inexperienced and aspiring constructors meet and collaborate with established names. Obstacles, problems, and questions are handled with equal care and support. Heck, some constructors have even posted rejection notices they’ve received in order to share the valuable feedback it contains.
And some members of the group have greater ambitions for the Crossword Puzzle Collaboration Directory, hoping to encourage more constructors from underrepresented groups to construct and submit their puzzles, bringing a genuine level of equality and equal representation in the world of puzzles.
It’s a place to learn, to network, to grow, to celebrate one’s successes, and learn from one’s setbacks. One of the regular visitors of the group even managed to cross off one of her New Year’s resolutions last year by submitting a crossword to The New York Times, thanks in part to the resources and support provided by this marvelous group of people.
And that’s definitely something worth celebrating.
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