Mt. Airy student at crossword purposes with Will Shortz

Weekend Edition Sunday has featured a puzzle segment by Will Shortz since 1987. This summer, the New York Times crossword editor has had the help of some local talent.

Joel Fagliano of East Mount Airy is interning with Shortz, who works from home in Pleasantville, N.Y.

The Pomona College student says he is enjoying the association with the country’s premiere puzzler.

“He’s like one of the only puzzle historians in the U.S., so his house is filled with all different sorts of puzzles. And he’s got the first crossword puzzle. He’s got the first crossword magazine,” said Fagliano. “All sorts of interesting stuff.”

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Readers submit completed crossword grids, then Shortz and Fagliano choose from among those submissions.

Fagliano said the secret to a good puzzle is in the longer answers.

“We’ll usually accept a puzzle if it has a cool theme, if all the long answers have something in common that is inventive or particularly cool,” he said. “And then we’ll go ahead and work on the clues.”

Fagliano applied for the position after Shortz published a crossword he had submitted.

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