Inkwell farewell | Inkwell | Chicago Reader

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Inkwell farewell

Crossword creator Ben Tausig bids adieu to loyal solvers.


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The decision to end Inkwell, the weekly crossword feature I've been writing for just under ten years, seemed so organic that I couldn't deny its correctness. And as I anticipate starting a full-time job as a professor of music in the fall, this is my chance to tell you why this has been special.

Inkwell began as a moon-shot idea stoked by the bad vibes of menial employment. From a boxy PC on a cubicle desk, I pitched a hipster crossword to the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and once that paper signed on, I used its name to convince other clients to come aboard. At times, working with alt weeklies has been a lesson in the mercenary politics of a journalistic sector on the brink. However, most papers have been supportive, and have understood the long game of developing a relationship between puzzle editor and solvers, which is all about sowing trust. It is that relationship that I feel pangs about leaving behind. I'll miss setting traps that I knew would be labored over and enjoyed and, of course, unraveled by you. I felt like I was talking to you from across the room, as one would with a friend. I appreciate that you listened to me, and I hope I entertained more than frustrated you.

The end of Inkwell is not quite the end of my life in puzzling. I'll continue editing the American Values Club crossword, formerly in the Onion and now independent. And I'll still be writing an AVCX puzzle every couple of months. Since you've never seemed like one, don't be a stranger. I ask you sincerely to keep in touch——with stories and questions and whatever else. Thanks for solving.

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