Home Events + News This Hoboken Resident Had 2 Crosswords Published in the NYT Before Graduating High School

This Hoboken Resident Had 2 Crosswords Published in the NYT Before Graduating High School

by Danielle Farina
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Have you ever been stumped on a puzzle or game and thought to yourself: who in the world could come up with this? Well, if you’re an avid player of The New York Times Crossword, the mastermind is closer than you think. Hoboken resident Luke Schreiber recently had a second crossword published in the NYT, all before graduating high school. This isn’t the only brag-worthy item on Luke’s resume either: he’s also been published in the Los Angeles Times, is a nationally-rated Scrabble player, and is a rising freshman at Princeton University. So, how does a Hoboken high schooler become a professionally published puzzler? The Hoboken Girl reached out to Luke to find out. Read on to learn more about Luke Schreiber, the Hoboken resident whose crossword puzzles have been published in The New York Times.

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The Hoboken Girl: Tell us a little bit about yourself — where you currently live, where you plan on going to school this fall, + what you like to do in your free time.

Luke Schreiber: I’m from Hoboken and I just graduated from St. Peter’s Prep High School in Jersey City. I will be attending Princeton University in the fall. In my free time, I like to make crosswords, play sports, and make hot sauces, often with peppers grown right here in Hoboken. I am also a nationally-rated Scrabble player and am always up for a game.

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HG: When did you first get into making crossword puzzles? Can you tell us a little bit about how you discovered you could make them on your own?

LS: I first created small crosswords for my dad, and after this initial foray into the crossword construction world, I soon discovered that I could submit crosswords to publications such as the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times. I then began working on puzzles that I would send to these publications and had my first one published in the Los Angeles Times last June.

HG: What goes into making a crossword puzzle? Describe the process.

LS: Creating a crossword begins with the theme idea. I then develop the theme concept into a full theme set whose letter lengths will function with symmetry. Once I am satisfied with the theme, I place those into a five-by-five grid and begin placing black squares around to break up the puzzle and allow me to begin putting in the rest of the entries, known as the fill. The filling process is a lot of trial and error, combining software with human preference. After I have a fully filled grid I write the clues one by one and then I have my dad test solve it before sending it in to be considered for publication.

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^ Luke’s most recent puzzle in The New York Times

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HG: How did you land your puzzle in The New York Times? Not only once, but twice! Tell us about both experiences, including how it felt for you.

LS: It wasn’t until the eighteenth crossword I submitted that I received my first acceptance, so it is safe to say that I was thrilled. The Sunday acceptance was also satisfying because that one had gone through numerous versions and emails with the editors.



HG: What do you plan on studying at college? Do you see yourself continuing to make puzzles?

LS: I am uncertain as to my exact major, but I plan on studying linguistics in college and I absolutely plan on continuing to construct crosswords. I have more that will be published this year or next year and I may also contribute crosswords to the Daily Princetonian.

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HG: Just for fun: what are some of your favorite local spots/businesses in Hoboken? What is your favorite part about living here? 

LS: One of my favorite spots in Hoboken is Choc O Pain because of its excellent pastries and French delicacies. The best part about living in Hoboken is the constant influx of new eateries and activities to try.

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