Logan Sperling has a way with words.
Which works well with his passion for crafting crossword puzzles.
For the past year, the Trevor teen has written a puzzle each month for the Kenosha News.
His puzzles — appearing on the Kenosha County Living Page on the second Sunday of each month — contain Kenosha-centric clues that refer to local places, people, businesses and even mascots.
Now, with his 13th puzzle appearing on this page, he is hanging up his Puzzle Master Hat. (If there is such a thing and, if there is, I want one.)
When we talked about his puzzles over pizza a year ago, Sperling was new to the puzzle world and ready to dive in. He discovered a passion for solving the puzzles by stumbling across a crossword puzzle book at his aunt’s house in April of 2018.
He completed that first crossword with help from his family and was hooked.
Over that summer, the Central High School graduate and College of Lake County student started constructing his own puzzles instead of just solving crosswords.
There was probably a clue in our conversation that Sperling wouldn’t be creating puzzles for several years. He told me with a smile “when I get into a specific hobby, I get really, really into it. I’m not a dabbler” — and now he’s lost that loving feeling for crosswords.
“I have gotten quite busy with other real life endeavors,” he said, “and do not have the passion to keep producing quality crosswords. I figured this crossword would be a fitting last crossword, as it marks the one-year anniversary when I started writing the Kenosha Crossword.”
When he started this project last fall, he said, “at that time, I was really into crosswords. This job meant the world to me, and I really appreciate it.”
Sperling said he hoped “people have fun doing my puzzles. And they might also learn something about Kenosha.”
His puzzles don’t only have local clues. He also hoped to channel “a New York Times crossword puzzle vibe. It’s popular for a reason. Those puzzles are the best.”
Working a New York Times crossword puzzle, he said, “involves an ‘aha moment’ when you discover the theme of that puzzle. I hope to blend the local clues with that New York Times type of challenge.”
Before you run off to create your own crossword puzzle, be warned that Sperling is quick to explain “it is insanely difficult to construct a puzzle. Because it isn’t easy, when I do finish a puzzle, it’s like a work of art. I like to look at it and say ‘I did it.’ That’s why I like to construct crosswords.”
Try it; you’ll like it!
Sperling encourages Kenosha News readers — even those who may have never tried to solve a crossword puzzle — to slow down and try to decipher the clues to 4 down or 36 across.
“Crossword puzzles offer a feel-good experience; a feeling of accomplishment when you solve one,” he said. “It can also open your mind and help you learn new things.”
Solving the puzzles, he adds, “can be a social thing. It builds connections with other people if you work together to solve the clues.”
To craft puzzles, Sperling got help through the online crossword puzzle enthusiast community where, he said, “lots of people have been mentoring me.”
Crossword puzzles have been around for at least 200 years, and Sperling sees no end in sight.
“There are so many words, and so many possible puzzles,” he said. “Hopefully, younger people will enjoy doing crossword puzzles, and they’ll remain popular.”
His final puzzle today is called “Nice on the Inside.” We hope you enjoy solving it, and we wish the best to Logan. Who knows? Maybe he’ll get into Sudoku next or will finally be able to explain to me how the “Cryptoquip” works.
Have a comment? Email Liz at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 262-656-6271.