Local crossword constructor goes national

MEDFORD, Ore. – A man in Ashland constructed his own crossword puzzle, which gained national recognition when it was accepted by the New York Times.

The crossword connoisseur, Steve Weyer said, “I just get to do fun things that I get to enjoy and I’m not having to go punch a time clock into any place.”

Steve Weyer says he’s liking retirement or what he calls a ‘permanent sabbatical.’

Before that, he used to work for some big tech companies like Atairi and Apple, and became an independent software developer.

Weyer said, “I had started doing crossword work maybe twenty years ago, I mean I was solving them before that, but I got this idea to write a software program that would let you solve it on a hand-held device.”

After his software came out on how to solve crosswords, Weyer went a little deeper down the rabbit hole.

He went from an avid solver to a constructor.

He said, “I did some for friends and family like birthday presents or Christmas presents for people. So, it kind of gave you some practice into making a crossword, but it wasn’t something you could send in for publication.”

But eventually, Weyer would have his eyes on publishing his crossword puzzles and he wanted to go big.

However, he found out that sending crossword puzzles to national publications, like the New York Times wouldn’t be easy.

He continued, “they get about 200 puzzle submissions a week, they only have seven slots, right? Seven days a week. You know, you’re competing against a lot of other really good constructors out there.”

But a little over a year ago, Weyer finally submitted a crossword that was accepted by the New York Times.

It ran last week on November 1st and Weyer now describes it as a personal triumph.

Weyer says that a lot of rejection and setbacks are involved in building crosswords and isn’t for everyone.

And when it comes to actually solving crossword puzzles, Weyer says they’re a good way to keep your mind sharp and have a little bit of fun.

Weyer said, “just being patient and persistent. It means putting the puzzle aside and realizing ‘oh I’ll come back the next day… Oh and now I know some more answers.’ Your brain works overnight on this stuff.”

If you want to learn more, Weyer also teaches classes on all things crosswords, at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at SOU.

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Maximus Osburn is a reporter for NBC5 News. He studied at California State University-Northridge, graduating with a degree in Broadcasting. Maximus is an avid martial arts enthusiast and combat sports fan. He even traveled to Thailand to train with martial arts experts. Maximus loves movies, nature, and doing things outside his comfort zone, like swimming in sub-freezing lakes in the winter.
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