Project image
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$10,381
pledged of $26,000pledged of $26,000 goal
321
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Mon, July 13 2015 2:00 AM UTC +00:00
$10,381
pledged of $26,000pledged of $26,000 goal
321
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Mon, July 13 2015 2:00 AM UTC +00:00

About

From April 2010 to March 2015, I edited a themeless crossword for the Arts & Style section of the Sunday Washington Post. Each puzzle was written by an expert themeless crossword constructor and clued to be very challenging.

In the final two years of the Post Puzzler I opened up four slots in the schedule for outsiders to contribute. I used a blind submission policy, where I solved all the submissions without knowing who wrote them, and I chose my favorite as the winner. That will continue with Fireball Postmodern Puzzler four times a year.

Now it’s time to eliminate the newspaper from the equation and go right to the solvers. I’ve lined up seven talented themeless crossword writers to provide 48 puzzles as follows:

Todd McClary (8 puzzles)
Patrick Berry (8 puzzles)
Doug Peterson (8 puzzles)
Frank Longo (8 puzzles)
Jeffrey Harris (6 puzzles)
Byron Walden (8 puzzles)
Mike Nothnagel (2 puzzles)

The writers will be paid the highest rate in the industry for themeless crosswords: $305 per puzzle plus half of what the puzzles earn if they are ever collected in book form. If you believe crossword writers should be well-compensated for quality work, then this is the project you should be backing.

Try a Sample Puzzle

Below is a sample puzzle that is about the same difficulty as you will find in Fireball Postmodern Puzzler. To try it, right-click on it and open it in a new tab, and then print it. The emailed puzzles will come in two forms: Across Lite, which can be solved on your computer, and pdf, which can be printed and solved on paper.

Sample puzzle
Sample puzzle

About Me

I started Fireball Crosswords in 2010 as the first online-only pay-to-play direct-to-the-solver crossword. I have written or edited more than 50 puzzle books, with combined sales of over a million copies. I was the editor of the Post Puzzler, a tough themeless crossword that appeared in every Sunday Washington Post from April 2010 to March 2015. I have run not one, not two, but three successful Kickstarter campaigns for a news-based crossword. From 2002 to 2008, I was the crossword editor for the New York Sun. I am the editorial director for Puzzlewright Press, an imprint of Sterling Publishing, where I have worked for the last 18 years. I am also the creator of the iPhone app Celebrity: Get a Clue. And since 2012 I have been a member of the American Heritage Dictionary Usage Panel.

Risks and challenges

Newspapers buy all rights to crosswords, pay the authors a one-time fee, and then line their pockets for years on the backs of our hard work. Put an end to the newspaper hegemony complex by supporting independent crossword writers.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $26 or more About $26

    REGULAR SUBSCRIBER: You get all 52 weekly crosswords delivered to you by email starting in September 2015.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $36 or more About $36

    EARLYBIRD SUBSCRIBER: You get all 52 weekly crosswords delivered to you by email starting in September 2015, and you get them earlier than regular subscribers do. You won’t have to worry about seeing spoilers on the crossword blogs, since you’ll always be one puzzle ahead. When regular subscribers get their first puzzle, you’ll get the second puzzle. When they get the second one, you’ll get the third one, and so on. (The first puzzle will come one week earlier than it will for regular subscribers.)

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    PICK-AN-ANSWER SUBSCRIBER: You get to select one answer to appear in one of the puzzles during the year. The answer has to be a legitimate crossword entry, so you can’t just make up a phrase. If you’re not sure if an answer is okay, query me before choosing this option. Add $10 to your pledge if you also want to be an Earlybird Subscriber.

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Funding period

- (11 days)