Lexicon Valley

How a Crossword Puzzle Gets Made

The first question asked of many crossword makers: “Do you write the clues first?”

To help explain why that wouldn’t make sense, Slate’s Mike Vuolo, an occasional crossword writer for the New York Times and others, walks us through the process of creating a new puzzle in the video above. The art isn’t very complicated, but you do have to follow a few rules.

We recommend watching this video in full-screen mode.

Correction, Nov. 14, 2014: Due to an editing error, this video originally contained a crossword puzzle that did not actually have rotational symmetry. A corrected version of the video has been uploaded to replace it.