From Classroom to Crossword
Nate Cardin, an upper school science teacher, recently showcased his knack for words in a place beyond the classroom. His crossword puzzle found its way into the pages of The New York Times on October 10 Puzzle. But how did he start his journey? Cardin started writing crosswords around 10 years ago, learning from former middle school mathematics teacher Mike Grier, who wrote crosswords. He enjoys creating themes and unexpected clues.
The submission process commenced in January, with confirmation arriving in April, a proof of Cardin’s patience and dedication. The publication transcended personal achievement as Cardin reveled in the joy of sharing his passion with friends, family, and the crossword community.
The exhilaration of having the puzzle featured in the paper was actually eclipsed by the delight of witnessing friends and family, including those unaccustomed to crosswords, engaging with the puzzle. It was heartwarming; the support was evident, and it seemed as though Cardin was ushering them into the captivating realm of crosswords. Their burgeoning interest further stoked his enthusiasm.
Cardin finds a unique joy in finding themes that stand out for their originality. “When I can come up with a good theme that feels interesting and unique, that feels good,” he shared. He also cherishes the opportunity to weave elements into his crosswords that aren’t typically seen, like modern slang and aspects that mirror his life.
The puzzle, adorned with a unique theme of double letters, resonated with enthusiasts, rendering a blend of intellectual challenge and communal engagement.
In the critique section of The New York Times, writer Sam Corbin praised the thematic brilliance of Cardin’s puzzle, particularly enchanted by the double letters theme unveiled in the last clue. Corbin found the puzzle to be a timely nudge, encouraging people to express their thoughts to loved ones.
Similarly, Aidan Deshong, a crossword writer, found enjoyment in Cardin’s latest puzzle. He commended the thematic richness encapsulated in a compact grid, a testament to Cardin’s skill and ingenuity in crossword crafting.
This accomplishment underscored the essence of intertwining personal passions with professional endeavors, epitomizing the profound satisfaction derived from sharing one’s niche interests with a broader audience. Through the lens of Cardin’s experience, this extends an invitation to embrace individual interests, fostering a culture of shared enthusiasm and lifelong learning.