Meet Team Fiend

In reverse alphabetical order, here are the regular contributors to the Diary of a Crossword Fiend venture:

Dave “Evad” Sullivan got his moniker when he first posted at the old NYT Puzzle forum under the member name “evadnavillus.” He was at first mistaken for a Croatian housewife obsessed with American crosswords named Evadna Villus. He just had his fifth daily puzzle accepted for publication in the New York Times, and has had over 20 puzzles published in other media outlets. He lives with his partner in Woodstock, Vermont, where they raise chickens, vegetables, bees and hopefully soon, goats. Along with tending to all things technical here at DOACF, Dave has helped out fellow bloggers Brendan Emmett Quigley, Tyler Hinman and Matt Gaffney.

Janie Smulyan has a background as a performer and lyricist, and is a (minimally) published constructor (still workin’ at it!).  For two years she blogged the daily CrosSynergy puzzle (with more than a little help from Evad!); for a little over a year, the Sunday Washington Post’s “Post Puzzler” (once a month); and now she blogs the Crossword Nation puzzle (weekly). She couldn’t be less impressive as a solver if she tried (and she has…); nor more obsessed by crosswords (and she is).  She counts herself as one of the many here “…bedazzled by language and addicted to [what] Cyril Connolly called ‘unbreakable toys for the mind.’” (Alistair Reid)

Ben Smith is a project manager in Somerville, MA who’s been into crosswords since 2011 and into puzzles for much much longer than that.  He hasn’t had any crosswords published yet, but he has had puzzles at a few NPL conventions (when he left a stack of them on the table in the handout room) and has cat-herded a few BAPHLs.  At Fiend, he blogs BEQ’s Thursday puzzles.  Outside of crosswords, Ben blogs about SNL and other TV shows for What Else is On, runs a weekly radio show/podcast called Pick & Mix, and is generally Good At Internet.

Doug Peterson constructed his first crossword in 2003 and had no idea what he was getting into. He’s an accomplished constructor (over 500 puzzles published) and solver (ACPT 2008 Rookie of the Year), though you can’t always tell that from his blog posts. He gets distracted easily. Now where was I? Oh right. Doug blogs the occasional puzzle when we can rope him into it. His hobbies include attending crossword tournaments and watching old episodes of Sanford and Son.

pannonica currently lives with a cat. Just one.

joon pahk is a physics teacher at harvard university who has been obsessively into crosswords since 2008. an occasional, though not prolific, constructor, he has also finished in 4th place at the ACPT in 2014. here at diary of a crossword fiend, joon blogs matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest. outside of crosswords, joon’s main interests are trivia and sports, especially soccer. he can’t stand pets or long walks on the beach.

Andy Kravis is an attorney and test prep instructor in Brooklyn, NY. Since 2011, his crosswords have been published in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Fireball Crosswords, 20 Under 30, and weekly on his own blog, Cruciverbalist at Law. He is one of the co-directors of the Indie 500 Crossword Tournament. In 2014, he finished 13th at ACPT and 5th at Lollapuzzoola 7. His greatest accomplishment to date is being kissed by Ryan Seacrest. At Fiend, he blogs the Sunday LA Times puzzle.

Jeffrey Krasnick of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, has won four Foreign Division trophies at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, where he has finished as high as 29th overall. Jeffrey blogs the LA Times puzzle every Thursday. Jeffrey was mentioned on 53 episodes of the Fill Me In crossword podcast and has the spreadsheet to prove it. Jeffrey wishes he could spend more time at Walt Disney World and in February, 2013 had his first published crossword.

Adesina Koiki (Ade or Addie for short) of Brooklyn is a relative newbie to crosswords and the crossword world. His first crossword tournament was Lollapuzzoola in 2011, and he’s been competing in the ACPT ever since. He’s the founder/editor/jack-of-all trades of the sports website, A Lot Of Sports Talk, and also a freelance reporter/editor at ESPN The Magazine. He’s spent time on the radio as a play-by-play broadcaster for one of the Baltimore Orioles minor league affiliates (Delmarva Shorebirds, Class-A) in 2007, and still does play-by-play here and there to stay sharp. He also likes to cook any cuisine involving chicken and/or cornbread.

Jared Hersh is a college math teacher in Santa Barbara, CA. He accidentally became a member of The Crossword Community after sending an email to the late, great podcast Fill Me In. His other main crossword credential consists of a plan to finish in the 10th percentile (no, not 90th) at his ACPT debut next year. In addition to being bad at crosswords, Jared is a competitive runner and sleeper. While the running is free of performance-enhancing drugs, the same can’t be necessarily said about the sleeping.

Angela Olson Halsted (a/k/a PuzzleGirl) doesn’t blog much any more but can occasionally be talked into covering a puzzle or two. She has had several puzzles published in The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, one solo and the rest collaborations with either Michael Sharp, Doug Peterson or Jeff Chen. When Angela isn’t solving puzzles, she’s a legal secretary who lives in the Washington, D.C., area with her husband and two children. She’s a sports fan who loves the Washington Nationals and follows Iowa Hawkeye wrestling. She seriously doesn’t have enough time for her hobbies.

Matt Gaffney has been a professional crossword puzzle writer for the past 15 years. His weekly crossword contest is here, his daily 11×13 is here and he shares his musings on crosswords at Gaffney on Crosswords. At Fiend he blogs Brendan Quigley’s Thursday puzzle, Pete Muller’s Monthly Music Meta, and Patrick Blindauer’s monthly weblog puzzle.

Neville Fogarty is a graduate student in mathematics at the University of Kentucky who’s been solving crosswords since preparing for a game show in 2007. He had his first crossword published in the LA Times in 2008, and while still contributing there, he also blogged the LAT Tuesday and Thursday puzzles here at The Fiend. He also publishes a weekly crossword when he’s not playing racquetball or ultimate Frisbee.

Sam Donaldson is a law professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta. In 2008, he attended his first American Crossword Puzzle Tournament as a 40th birthday present to himself. Later that year, his first crosswords were published in the USA Today, the New York Times, and the New York Sun. Since then he has published dozens of crosswords in various venues. He has also published two word search books. Once upon a time, he blogged the weekly Boston Globe puzzle here at The Fiend, and from April 2011 to April 2013 he covered the daily CrosSynergy puzzle. Sam tag-teamed with Janie and Gareth to review the late, great Washington Post Puzzler, a Sunday freestyle crossword, from April 2013 through March, 2015. He now reviews the weekly Merl Reagle puzzle. A perennial contender for People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive,” Sam has been approached by several high-level Nigerian officials to receive substantial sums of money in exchange for his bank account information.

T Campbell is a writer of comics, blog posts, books and more. An occasional contributor to the Fiend, he’s preparing to publish On Crosswords, a 63,000-word rumination that began with his work here. He’s produced the 14,400-square Ubercross C-Spot, the largest known crossword to follow standard American rules (no repeated words, no two-letter words, no uncrossed squares and totally solvable). Other crossword credits include Crossworlds: 50 Crosswords for the Science-Fiction Fan, a 2500-square “warm-up” called the Ubercross Fiddy and the cross-comic story Crossover, guest-starring Amy Reynaldo.

Gareth Bain: Born ’86, Port Elizabeth, South Africa in a hospital (we have those); qualified veterinarian at East London SPCA since 1 August 2012. Has been known to publish the odd puzzle. Also fond of baking and bird-watching (though combining the two would be a bad idea).