This web browser is not supported. Use Chrome, Edge, Safari, or Firefox for best results.

Charles Erlenkotter author page

8 pre-Shortz crosswords by Charles Erlenkotter (1881-1948)

TotalDebutLatest
82/15/19427/18/1943
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
8000000
Pre‑WS
8
Charles Erlenkotter
View these same grids with comments from:
David Steinberg (5)Jim Horne (1)

Charles Erlenkotter constructed the first-ever crossword in the Times, published on February 15, 1942. At that time, he was a veteran constructor, having been published in outlets as early as 1924 and frequently after that.

He was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1881. He married Wilhelmina "Mina" Weinacht in 1911.

As a young man, he ran his family's printing business after his father, the proprietor, died in 1897. He later joined the Hamburg American Line, a German-owned shipping company, where he spent most of his career. He would go on to work in various locales for the company, including San Francisco, St. Louis, and Montreal. During World War I, the company's operations were limited, and Charles instead worked for the New York Conservation Commission as a forester.

After the war, he resumed work with the Hamburg American Line. He and Mina moved to Montreal, and he managed the company's office there.

By 1924 he had begun constructing crosswords. That year, he was published in the Tribune syndicate.

In 1939, the outbreak of World War II interrupted the Hamburg American Line's business again. Charles left the company and he and Mina moved back to New York, settling in the Bronx. There he focused on puzzles. In the 1940s, besides the Times, he was active with such publications as Stars and Stripes and the newspaper PM, which later became the New York Star. He was also an editor of Simon & Schuster puzzle books.

He passed away in 1948 at age 67.

In the forward to Eugene Maleska's book Across and Down, Margaret Farrar noted that Erlenkotter was also known as "Charles Cross." The third-ever puzzle in the Times, appearing on March 1, 1942, was published under the Charles Cross name and was likely by Erlenkotter.* Erlenkotter may have also been published under the pseudonym "C.E. Noel," the byline that appeared on Christmas Eve in 1944.

* Margaret Farrar likely employed the Charles Cross pseudonym for other constructors as well. It appears as late as 1962, several years after Erlenkotter's death. David Steinberg's Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project blog noted that several books stated that Farrar used the Charles Cross moniker to avoid the same constructor's name appearing close in time.

Sun 7/18/1943 WITH HINTS FROM THE HEADLINES
ALCANCOHANGLASSMALTA
LARGOAGORARANCHAVERS
AVOIDLIMESENTERDAVIS
MATSDIVESTEDENICRETE
ETASUBERIONSENORLER
DILEMMASBERLESEDATEST
ACADIANHERBERTROBERTS
ITSPARSAMOANAP
BOOTHPAINEFINNSTEACH
ACREBARRETTNATALELLA
READJUSTSHEGELROASTER
NATARTSYEARSADAMEAN
ANODYNEPALMASWINBURNE
TIRESUDANSITKANSBEST
OASTSRANKELOIRECADET
AHSYIELDTEEERN
ASPIRESCELEBESDRAGOON
CELLARERSELIMPROVINCE
OREBOREDSENSLIDETAT
NEATWAGRAMGREAVESART
INDIAPEACELINNEAPRIL
TEETHINKERESTERMAINE
ERROLSTEREYEATSAROAR
Sun 5/16/1943 WITH CLUES FROM THE NEWS
HAROLDBRICKERSHASTA
OLIVERRELIEVECANTON
OCTAVESUNLINEDHARDING
VOLIDEATESROBERTMIL
EVILGAMUTPEGLERASTI
RENEELISDEGREESPHOEN
GEMMEDREAGENTGLEN
MEADHARRIETFLEA
SAMOANSAMISENBROADWAY
AVASTMIRADORBLISSACE
LILTHAMPDENELAPSEPEA
LATBESMEARCLASPEDITS
ITEINTERNSLITTEDETAT
EOSAPERSMOISTERSPITE
DRESSERSTINNIERPOISED
HICSSENATORCOLT
MANKSTANTONLANDON
SPONGVERMIANSARDMOSS
HARDARISESDANTEETTA
ITOTALBOTDUNDERSHAL
RECEIVELEOPOLDREPRINT
ANCONAERRANCYROUNCE
STONESTSETSESSTAGED
Sun 3/14/1943 WITH CLUES FROM THE NEWS
GABESCLARKPETAINBLUM
ELEGYRUMORELISTAYORA
BOSOMISOLATIONISTRIGI
ENEBISTREUPPERTANNED
RETROVERTFLIESSIDE
ELISEBRANOVERSTEP
MASHIESTRINGSMESARUE
IMPASSERAGETRENTMIGS
APISMLAUGHDIONCAPET
MATHNAVETEAROSEATONE
ICETOTERSLURKREVILER
FIRMERPLEBEERNANI
GAUDIERWEANDERAILTAB
INLETSPHERALLINDMAMA
RANAEAIDAILIADHONOR
AGESOVINEUNITSTEWING
UNSDUELDANGLESENRAGE
DISPUTESSCOTTRADE
LASSISSUSPRESERVES
BASALTACKERSIEGEROLE
IRANRICKENBACKERSLIME
LAVEINTENTPIETEOILER
ELODPASSESHORSTNEARS
Sun 12/13/1942 WITH CLUES FROM THE NEWS
CASPIANGASPEWICKARD
ANTILLESRZHEVMANPOWER
STAGCAPATOLEAIRLAVA
CALDORYBEVANCLOGKEY
OGIRTSRECEDESSARERS
ONSETMONSAREADOANE
ANGUISHEDCRUSADING
GIRLSOMEGASITARNONCE
AZALEASORPHANSAVENGER
REDARTEDATONECLARISSA
IDOLSROOST
BREMENDISPORTEDINCASE
LEXINGTONAVARESCOURED
APOSTLESGRAPHSWARMING
SANDIESMEALIERENMASSE
TREETTEENSDRIEDACTOR
STRAITENRECLEARS
ALEESARGTSARALAR
ACTSECSERPENTSTYCCC
POISTAALORNEAWECHAR
AROUSERSOZONETORTOISE
CENSURESANSERAREOLATE
EASIESTDYERSDREENED
Sun 9/27/1942 WITH CLUES FROM THE NEWS
SQUASHTHATNAZIREGIME
AUGITESEPARATESEVADED
TILTERELEVATORSLIMING
ANIPEARLEPIOUSELASE
NEERTIEDRIVEETATSAR
STRIGILFENDINGASSUMES
LACBALSTEALEON
BILLYBATHEYATESLINKS
ONUSMARTINSSEWEDSOUP
OFFDANDYCOTWIPERVIA
FITTINGSCARACASCUBEBS
DWARFSMASONRYHOMILY
HEATERHONESTYBARONESS
ELFREGANSIRFEMURTHE
RIFEDORISSURINAMITER
SCENTATTICMILNESTEVE
DORSODASVEEPOE
STREWERREPAPERMUMMERS
THUDPOOSIDONBARSLOP
ERSVOILETOTIONICADO
PETAINIRRAWADDYSLATER
PALIOSVIOLATIONTALENT
EDERLEANTSOGLESMARTY
Sun 8/2/1942 WITH CLUES FROM THE DAY'S NEWS
SMARTGRAMAPLUFFSLAND
HALERREBELRUNLETAREA
AROSEAPOSTROPHIZENEWT
WINPANAMAELIOTVADOSE
LAGUARDIAPIANOPERI
SNEERSENTKURDISTAN
HAVANASUTTEEHOODRUE
ANOGENSTOADSOLARMILE
PILEDCRAWLFORAEVENED
PLUSNOAHSTEVENSELITE
YENAIRISHHEILPILOTED
TOLLEDABELEBANANA
TIERCESDRUMTARTERROM
AMEBASABRESMETZFIRE
SPRIERIRONQUOTEPLAAT
SUITELMERTURNDERANGE
ERNIDEOSTRANGELOSSES
LEGATIONSHESSVOICE
FERNURIAHHENDERSON
JOFFREEMENDTOSSESARE
ARIACOMMENSURATESANDS
VENITHIEVEMARATOCTET
AYERSOLDERAPERSREARS
Sun 4/12/1942 WITH HEADLINES FROM THE PACIFIC
JAPANPRESIDENTCASER
JOHOREAUSTRALIAANILIC
ELAPSEMETRONOMEREMEDY
SINEDOSEENNULLWIVES
SETSLIPREEDESAULEAT
ETAPELEETRODURBANUS
FEDERALSTAVANGER
HAGARDUMASSTANDEEFEE
ELATESSORTSENDEDBLUM
LILETHENATELIERHOURI
GELMAIDPROCESSSENTIS
ONAGERSMOORISHRESEEPS
LANATECOSSETSCURSLII
ATTLEMAESTROERGODIDO
NORABARRESNAREWEAKEN
DRYRESEATSSPRATDRESS
EIGHTEENSTOTALED
PARLOURDOPSREGANLAC
ELODMUSEWACODUBJARO
ROMEOSUNSDORASOAMID
THORNSMELBOURNERAMOSE
HALLEYAMIANTINEEVENED
SAYRECYPRESSESRESTS
Sun 2/15/1942 HEADLINES AND FOOTNOTES
WAVELLABLEGRAMARABIC
AMELIAPEARROPEPERISH
SPIKESPERORATEDODESSA
HENUSERTESENTASSOTUR
EREIDOLSCUDLETTERED
SEDUCTIVESULUSWITNESS
SAUTESTREETSLET
GERUNDSFPASLEPTDROVE
AVERSERIATASTEAMYVON
TEMPOCENTIMESEPOYELI
ERIESHINTOISMDETOURED
TRAPASENSIRRHUMB
HOTSPURSREDENOTESBOCA
AVEEDGARRENEWEDFRAIL
GENFSENORSTRAWALERTA
INTERREBECIANSMOLDER
REAREVISALMISOL
CHORALEDUCALCONTRACTS
RESOLINGEELRANGEAET
ARTINSETREVENGERSVEE
BREEZERHEOMETERDANITE
BINDERMEANLIVEABATED
ENDERSSOREDEALMETERS