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Peter Collins Gets Century Of NYT Crosswords

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Huron High School math teacher Peter Collins has passed a large milestone at The New York Times, having had 100 Crosswords published by through iconic newspaper.

Published Aug. 17, the Crossword was a 15×15 and contained a meta-puzzle that consisted of three groups of four circles. The solution of the meta-puzzle was themed after the Chinese Communist political faction the Gang Of Four, each group was a word that is prefaced by the word “four.”

Designing a puzzle that would fit in with his idea for the theme didn’t come easy for Collins.

“Once I had the idea for this puzzle, I had a harder time than I thought,” the puzzle author wrote in his Constructor’s Notes for Crossword puzzle’s blog Wordplay. “I would to come up with expressions of the form FOUR ___… [what] made it even tougher is I had the additional constraint that two of the four letters had to be embedded in the long answer.”

“I’m happy I stuck with the consistency that in all three instances,” continued Collins. “[The] gang of four circled letters is always read clockwise from the upper left. As I was building the grid, I toyed with the idea of having them start in various locations, with some going clockwise and some counterclockwise. Yikes!”

100th Crossword puzzle by Peter Collins.

100th Crossword puzzle by Peter Collins. Image: The New York Times.

Collins joins 13 others to pass the milestone during the Shortz era of The New York Times Crossword puzzle, named after Will Shortz’s current run as puzzle editor that began in 1993. The puzzle designer isn’t showing signs of slowing down, as he has at least four more Crosswords have been accepted by the Times.

Submissions from Collins peaked throughout 2010 – 2012, with the math teacher having 12 Crosswords a year published during that time. Should all of the accepted work hit puzzler’s papers and screens, it would put his output back up from last year’s five-submission “slump.”

The puzzler designer was first published in The New York Times on May 2, 2006, which was also a 15×15 grid and a traditional Crossword not containing a meta-puzzle.

Designers With 100+ Published Crosswords

  • Manny Nosowsky: 246
  • Patrick Berry: 222
  • Elizabeth C. Gorski: 219
  • Rich Norris: 186
  • Nancy Salomon: 185
  • David J. Kahn: 172
  • Brendan Emmett Quigley: 159
  • Joe DiPietro: 125
  • Harvey Estes: 116
  • Gregory E. Paul: 116
  • Alan Arbesfeld: 107
  • Fred Piscop: 104
  • Randolph Ross: 103
  • Peter A. Collins: 100

About Bran McMillin

Bran McMillin is the founder and senior editor for the puzzle news site Puzzle Pile. From 2007 - 2010, he served as editor for the magazine Panopticon: Puzzles & Games. He is the inventor of the Itachi and Hairetsu puzzle forms and has created hundreds of puzzles. Disclosure: Bran is a member of the National Puzzlers' League.

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