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Kathy Matheson author page

1 puzzle by Kathy Matheson
with Constructor comments

Kathy Matheson
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See the 11 answer words debuted by Kathy Matheson.

Collaborator: Jeff Chen
Puzzles constructed by Kathy Matheson by year
Sun 8/21/2016 WONDER-FUL!

KATHY: As a longtime reporter, I've had many bylines over the years — but this is one of the most exciting! It's only my second published puzzle; the first was a solo effort printed in Games Magazine a couple of years ago. That one was smaller and simpler: 15x15 and only wordplay, no visuals. So I knew I needed help with my idea for "Wonder-ful!" and my first thought was Jeff Chen. His grids are always so creative!

We had communicated a bit through Twitter over the years when I was blogging at (currently on hiatus), but I didn't meet him in person until I went to the ACPT for the first time last April. A couple of weeks later, I emailed him with this theme proposal and he was intrigued. We debated which parks to include and how they could be visualized, including an ambitious shape for GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS and an entry where the RIO GRANDE slithered through a crooked BIG BEND. Unfortunately, not all of our ideas could fit, but I'm pretty happy with the ones that did.

And I'm really grateful to Jeff for his willingness to work with a rookie! I learned a lot.

JEFF: I admit it. I'm on Twitter (@JeffChenWrites — follow me!) but I still don't totally get it. I occasionally tweet about my current writing project or stray nose hairs or other subjects of equal importance, and followers will reply, or poke me, or Pokemon Go me or something. It's oddly complicated and altogether baffling, really. But I appreciate the chance to meet cool people through it once in a while, like Kathy.

Crossword Kathy is on hiatus right now, but for a while, Kathy would post insightful commentary from an experienced solver's perspective. Best of all, I liked when she called me "the best thing since sliced platinum-plated superfood bread" and that I was "undoubtedly the sole human being who could best Dos Equis's The Most Interesting Man Alive."

(There may have been some paraphrasing.)

So it was a delight when Kathy introduced herself at the ACPT, and asked if I could help her with creating a crossword. I'm always happy to help out a friendly newbie, and to my surprise, her very first idea — for a NATIONAL PARK SERVICE puzzle — I thought was a gem. (People usually flame out and give up after we go back and forth over 10+ ideas.)

It took some fleshing out and research to make sure there would be enough theme material. From a long list we shortlisted about 6-8 really well-known parks we could represent pictorially. Kathy's suggestion for HALF DOME over YOSEMITE was what clinched the set. We're both West Coasters at heart, so if you haven't heard of HALF DOME, consider it your obligation to go see it. And not just in an Ansel Adams painting. You don't have to bivouac halfway up the sheer face, but seeing it from both the ground and from top is something else.

After that, it was a simple matter of 90+ versions, and the grid was done! Easy peasy. In the Twitter sort of sense.

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