Joel Fagliano (born 1992[1]) is an American puzzle creator.[2][3][4] He is known for his work at The New York Times, where he writes the paper's Mini Crossword.[5] On March 14, 2024, Fagliano became the interim editor of The New York Times Crossword due to editor Will Shortz being on medical leave.[6]

Joel Fagliano
Born1992 (age 31–32)
Alma materPomona College
  • Puzzle creator
  • puzzle editor
Known forThe New York Times mini crossword puzzle

Early life and education


Fagliano grew up in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in a Jewish family[7] with two brothers.[8] His mother is a grant writer and his father is a chairperson at the Drexel University School of Public Health.[8] He enjoyed puzzles as a child, began completing the New York Times crossword puzzle regularly during his freshman year of high school[2] at the Masterman School,[8] a magnet school, and began making his own crosswords in his sophomore year.[1] For college, he moved to Southern California to attend Pomona College, where he graduated in 2014 with a degree in linguistics and cognitive science.[8]



Fagliano started submitting standard-length crossword puzzles to the New York Times in 2007. His first puzzle was accepted in September 2009 and ran the next month, when he was 17 years old. By the time he finished high school, he had had four puzzles accepted and published by the Times and two accepted and published by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate.[8] He interned for three summers with Will Shortz, the Times' crossword puzzle editor.[1][7] After graduating from Pomona College in 2014, Fagliano began working for him full-time.[8] At the Times, Fagliano creates and edits the "Mini Crossword", a 5 × 5 (or sometimes slightly larger, often on Saturdays) puzzle released daily, originally envisioned by product director Matt Hural.[1][9]

Personal life


Fagliano lives in the Upper East Side in Manhattan, New York City.[1] His hobbies include playing chess[1] and basketball, watching sports, and jogging.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Amlen, Deb (January 20, 2021). "Meet the Puzzle Makers of New York Times Games". The New York Times. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Garneau, Eric. "The Art of Wordplay: Speaks with Joel Fagliano". Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  3. ^ "NewsWorks Tonight, August 3, 2018". WHYY. August 3, 2018. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  4. ^ Hoegg, Donald (August 1, 2011). "Philly student interns with New York Times crossword editor". WHYY. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  5. ^ "New York Times crossword celebrates 75 years". CBS This Morning. February 15, 2017. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  6. ^ Mason, Everdeen (March 14, 2024). "Editor's Note: Joel Fagliano Edits the Daily Crossword". The New York Times. Retrieved March 14, 2024.
  7. ^ a b Rubin, Daniel (August 16, 2010). "Daniel Rubin: Masterman student a crosswords-writing whiz". The Inquirer. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Lear, Len (July 8, 2016). "It's a puzzle; Mt. Airy youth lands unique 'dream job'". The Chestnut Hill Local. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  9. ^ Fagliano, Joel (March 26, 2019). "A Mini History of Our Mini Crossword". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 23, 2021.