Will Shortz, New York Times Crossword Editor and NPR ‘Puzzlemaster,’ Recovering From Stroke

Will Shortz, the longtime crossword puzzle editor of the New York Times and NPR’s “puzzlemaster” for more than three decades, suffered a stroke last month and has spent the last several weeks rehabilitating.

Shortz revealed the injury in a recorded message aired on on NPR’s “Weekend Edition Sunday” on March 3. He has been absent from the show in recent weeks, and at the end today’s puzzle segment, “Weekend Edition Sunday” host Ayesha Rascoe shared an audio clip from Shortz to let fans know the situation.

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“Hey guys, this is Will Shortz. Sorry I’ve been out the last few weeks. I had a stroke on Feb. 4 and have been in rehabilitation since then. but I am making progress,” Shortz said in the message (hear it at this link, at the 6:20 mark). “I’m looking forward to being back with new puzzles soon.”

Following Shortz’s message, Rascoe said, “We here at ‘Weekend Edition,’ we love Will, and I know that everybody at home does, too. And we are rooting for him, and we are so hopeful and know that he will feel better soon.”

Shortz, 71, has appeared on NPR’s “Weekend Edition Sunday” since the program’s debut in 1987. He has served as crossword editor of the Times since 1993 — only the fourth person to hold the title in the paper’s history. Shortz also is the former editor of Games magazine and founded and has served as director of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament since 1978 (a focus of the 2006 documentary “Wordplay”).

The Indiana native sold his first puzzle when he was just 14 and at 16 became a regular contributor to Dell puzzle publications. He is said to be the only person in the world to hold a college degree in “enigmatology,” the study of puzzles, a major he designed himself and earned from Indiana University in 1974.

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