Ti grad co-authors Times crossword puzzle

TICONDEROGA Malia Jackson does more than solve puzzles, she creates them. The 1998 Ticonderoga High School graduate co-authored a crossword puzzle that appeared in the New York Times Jan. 8. It was dream come true for Jackson, who has long-loved crossword puzzles. My grandfather does crosswords every day, so he got me interested in them when I was young, Jackson said. I started solving more seriously when I was a high school teacher in New York City public schools. We got the New York Times delivered to the school every day and some of my students would bring me the paper so we could hang out in my classroom at lunchtime and work on it, sometimes together, and sometimes competitively. Jackson is the daughter of former Ticonderoga residents Kirk and Janet Jackson. They now live in Bakers Mills. Jackson now lives in San Francisco and works as a designer in the video game industry. The Jan. 8 New York Times puzzle was co-authored by Jacksons boyfriend, Noah Snyder, who also loves riddles. Noah writes puzzles for competitions like the MIT Mystery Hunt, and when we started dating, my love of the New York Times crossword and his love of writing puzzles in general made for a good collaboration, Jackson said. Snyder is a mathematics doctoral student at University of California at Berkeley. It took more than a year for Jacksons puzzle to make it into the New York Times. We first wrote the puzzle, which involves coming up with a theme I dont want to say the theme of this puzzle in case people want to solve it designing the black squares on the grid, filling in the grid with words, and writing the clues, Jackson explained. We mailed a batch of puzzles to Will Shortz, who is the (New York Times) crossword editor, in November of 2006, she continued. In June of 2007, we heard back that one puzzle from the batch had been accepted and would run on a Tuesday. Will Shortz then edits the clues and, in our case, a few words in the grid as well. The puzzle finally saw print in January 2008. Jackson and Snyder are already working on other crossword puzzles with hopes of more publications. The New York Times crossword is considered among the elite puzzles my crossword enthusiasts. The New York Times crossword gets progressively more difficult throughout the week, so a Tuesday puzzle is on the easier side, Jackson said. All of the puzzles in the New York Times are written by individuals (not by computers) and then edited by Will Shortz. He doesnt write the puzzles himself. Theres also a national competition run by Will for solving puzzles, called the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, she added. Editors note: The Times of Ti can not reprint the crossword puzzle created by Jackson and Snyder because of copyright restrictions.

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