How to make a crossword: Rules for creating New York Times–style puzzles (VIDEO).

How a Crossword Puzzle Gets Made (You Don’t Start With the Clues)

How a Crossword Puzzle Gets Made (You Don’t Start With the Clues)

Lexicon Valley
A Blog About Language
Nov. 12 2014 11:42 PM

How a Crossword Puzzle Gets Made

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The first question asked of many crossword makers: “Do you write the clues first?”

To help explain why that wouldn't make sense, Slate’s Mike Vuolo, an occasional crossword writer for the New York Times and others, walks us through the process of creating a new puzzle in the video above. The art isn’t very complicated, but you do have to follow a few rules.

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Correction, Nov. 14, 2014: Due to an editing error, this video originally contained a crossword puzzle that did not actually have rotational symmetry. A corrected version of the video has been uploaded to replace it.

Mike Vuolo is a radio and podcast producer and the host of Lexicon Valley.

Anne Marie Lindemann is a video producer and designer based on New York.