New York Times publishes chemistry teacher’s crossword puzzle for first time

The New York Times published Coordinator of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and science teacher Nate Cardin in the July 28 issue.

“I’ve always loved doing puzzles and as a kid” Cardin said. “I always thought that [publishing a crossword] would be an ideal scenario, but when I was a kid I always thought that’s what other smarter people can make.”

After sharing and collaborating on puzzles with math teacher Mike Grier and publishing crosswords in every issue of The Chronicle, Cardin developed his puzzle-making skills until he eventually submitted his first puzzle to The New York Times in early January.

Cardin said that he gets his inspiration for crossword puzzle themes as he goes about his day. After he has an idea, he puts together the initial grid and then writes the clues for the imagined crossword.
Cardin’s crossword uses common symbols, such as the hashtag, instead of following The New York Times’s usual alphabetic structure.

“You have to realize that the symbol goes in that square and that the symbol means four different things,” Cardin said, “It’s got a couple different layers to it.”

Cardin said that he hopes students and other members of the community will enjoy his crosswords.

“He is very passionate about [writing crossword puzzles] and it shows,” Jack Hoppus ’20 said. “He talks about it in science class from time to time and I feel inspired to solve some of them. I love that he does that kind of work.”