Before I expire I'm hoping to get a crossword puzzle published in the NYT. I've submitted more than a dozen now but they have all been declined. In some cases there were comments returned ("We don't do quotations" or "Didn't understand the theme") but many times just a "No thanks". I'm sure Will Shortz is inundated with submissions so I'm wondering if there are strategies for getting noticed / accepted.

  • I'm using this software which says it exports the appropriate document formatting
  • Before submitting I have several people solve / edit for content and clarity

At present I'm sitting on three Sundays and I'm not sure how best to submit them. Send them together? Space them out? Should I include any other information (besides my contact info)?


2 Answers 2


It doesn't seem like this is the proper forum for this sort of question. On the other hand I do have some experience with trying to get things published so I will try to answer the question.

  1. Get your puzzles published in a lesser place (much lesser) than the NYT. Get established there. Get them to like your work.

  2. Get your puzzles published in a larger distribution...Omaha World Herald...maybe. Get established there. Get them to like your work.

  3. Publish and sell a number of copies of a puzzle book. Show that your work can 'Sell'. Work product that shows a history of competitive success will get some attention.

  4. Write Will Shortz a nice letter with an invitation to look at and consider your work. All of the contributors to the NYT are established puzzlers who have reputation outside of the NYT.

  5. In other words, in the world of publishing, with few exceptions, you must earn your way to the top. Take your time, be persistent, build credibility and a network of supporters.


In addition to the great information provided by Dr. T, you might want to consider these guidelines for constructing a professional crossword puzzle. Some of these tips might resonate with the feedback you've been given.

Additionally, if you haven't already joined the Cruciverb forums, they might be able to assist you with more specific feedback.

  • $\begingroup$ Providing links to relevant information is fine, but you should include a summary of what that link says within the answer itself rather than just linking to it. See Your answer is in another castle: when is an answer not an answer? which covers why: links can go dead, or their content changed, and at best it's distracting having to go elsewhere to see what information you were trying to share. (I'll also reiterate that if this is your site, you must disclose your affiliation.) $\endgroup$
    – Rubio
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 5:22
  • $\begingroup$ Ive been trying to get into the cruciverb forum for quite a while. The 'recover password' option doesn't work and the forum moderator doesn't respond to my emails. Not sure what I did wrong there. $\endgroup$
    – ethrbunny
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 15:09

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