Evan Birnholz, co-founder of the Indie 500 Crossword Puzzle Tournament, has constructed crosswords for more than 10 years. His puzzles have been published in The Washington Post, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Will Shortz's WordPlay Magazine, as well as on his website, Devil Cross.
In his effort to create entertaining crosswords, Birnholz says he avoids entries that no one really uses anywhere except in crosswords, like SSS - the sound a tire makes when it's leaking air. "It's a personal aesthetic. I want people to have fun with the puzzle and, when things click, for them to say, 'Oh, that was clever.'"
Birnholz and his wife live in Philadelphia. He has degrees in chemistry and public health and was a PhD student before abandoning academic life for crosswords.