Will Shortz


Distinguished Alumni Service Award (2014)
Indiana University Bloomington
B.A., 1974
Thomas Hart Benton Mural Medallion (2008)
Location: Bloomington
Presenter: Michael A. McRobbie
College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award (2007)
Indiana University Bloomington
B.A., 1974


Born in Crawfordsville, Indiana, Will Shortz published his first puzzle when he was only 14. By age 16 he had become a regular contributor to Dell puzzle publications. Shortz is the only graduate of IU -or any academic institution- to hold a degree in "enigmatology."

After graduating from IU with his degree from the Individualized Major Program in 1974, he attended law school at the University of Virginia, and then returned to the puzzle world as editor of Games magazine. While at Games, Shortz founded the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, which held its 30th competition last year. He also became Puzzlemaster for National Public Radio's "Weekend Edition Sunday."

In 1993, Shortz joined The New York Times as crossword editor, still continuing his roles with NPR and directing the ACPT. During the next decade, he founded the World Puzzle Championship and served as captain of the U.S. team, contributed riddles to the 1995 movie "Batman Forever," was named one of "The 100 Best People in the World" by Esquire magazine, and served as a visiting professor at IU through the Wells Scholars program.

Shortz has written or edited more than 200 books of crosswords, Sudoku and other brain teasers. He was the subject of the acclaimed 2006 feature film "Wordplay," celebrating the phenomenon of Shortz' crosswords in The New York Times, which reach an estimated 50 million people each week.