Puzzle writer to fill in the blanks about
crosswords at men's club breakfast
- As a kid, Douglas Fink loved solving puzzles. All sorts of
puzzles. Except for crossword puzzles. Then Fink grew up and got a
job that required a long commute. He started whiling away the hours
on the train by doing crosswords puzzle.
Now, more than 15
years later, Fink is not only completing crossword puzzles, he's
creating them. And on Sunday, May 22 at 9:30 a.m., he will share
some of the tricks of the trade as featured speaker at the Men's
Club breakfast of Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Bridgeport, where he
is also a member.
"Solving a puzzle is the thrill of solving
a mystery," explains the 40-year-old Fink, who lives in Monroe with
his wife and two children.
"Making a puzzle is the thrill of
an artist - of creating something. They're different
The author of two books of crossword puzzles - "The
Everything Easy Crossword Puzzle Book" and "The Everything
Challenging Crosswords Book," Fink's third book - "Travel
Crosswords" - is slated to be published in December 2005. A member
of the National Puzzlers' League, and a regular player in the annual
American Crossword Tournament, held in Stamford, Fink has also
penned puzzles for a slew of magazines, including Justine and
Ghost!. He won a GAMES magazine contest - Palindromes with
Personality - with the entry "Lisa Bonet ate no basil."
was a computer programmer for Penny Press in Norwalk - which is one
of two puzzle magazine publishers left in the country," says Fink.
"I wrote some puzzles for them - but I also wrote the software that
made the puzzles. My automation of Penny Press is what put them in a
financial position to buy out Dell."
At the Men's Club breakfast, Fink will focus not
only on crossword construction, but on how words can be clued to a
target audience - specifically, in this case, a Jewish audience.
He's even prepared with a special puzzle to demonstrate his
For example, he says, one might "clue" a certain
three-letter word "religious Christian woman." Or, one might target
a Jewish audience with the clue "one of the letters on a dreidel."
The answer: Nun.
Or, a certain four-letter word could be
clued "type of blood," or it could be clued "______ Shabbat."
Answer: Oneg. It all depends on your target audience, says
To be sure, writing crossword puzzle is not as simple
as it might appear. So, what attributes does a crossword puzzle
writer need to succeed?
"Several skills help," says Fink.
Among them, a broad knowledge of "trivia is probably the biggest
help when it comes to writing crossword puzzles." And he adds,
"being a human thesaurus is good, too."
For more information
on the Rodeph Sholom Men's Club breakfast call (203)
More information regarding Fink's books can be
found on line at www.themecrossword.com.
Click here for printable
version of story.
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