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Word of Mouth

The Acrosses and Downs of Crossword Celebrity

Photo by yoohoojuju, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

From reality-TV star, to political infamy, to the insular fame of industry insiders, modern celebrity comes in many forms. Including – for those dedicated to the Sunday newspaper – crossword celebrity…think names that begin and end in a vowel…or, that serve as filler for rare consonants, like Q.  But without tabloid mentions or Neilson ratings, how do we know who’s who in puzzles?  Fear not - a new equation has been created to solve this very problem. Created by Slate Magazine and named for Times puzzle Editor Will Shortz, the ‘Shortz factor’ measures crossword-related fame.  Matt Gaffney is a professional puzzle creator who wrote about the Shortz factor for Slate.com.