USA Today Puzzle Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be made directly to:
Timothy E. Parker (Editor)
6400 Baltimore National Pike
Bldg. 170A – Suite 300
Baltimore, MD. 21228

USA Today, “The Nation’s Newspaper,” has the largest circulation of any newspaper in America. It is distributed at many of the nation’s hotels and motels, and has over two million daily subscribers.

For those reasons, USA Today crosswords should feature “Americana.” Clues using directions should feature American cities and destinations. The puzzles themselves should be fun, entertaining brain exercises that are solvable, for the most part, without reference books. A “medium” difficulty range is desired.

Themes should be fresh, clever, interesting and consistently applied throughout the puzzle. Themes should be upbeat, avoiding negative expressions and depressing words such as "diseased." Each theme entry should have another theme entry in the symmetrically opposite position in the grid.

The puzzles are 15X15, 78 clues or less, 38 black squares or less. (Exceeded slightly at editor’s discretion)

Constructors should emphasize lively, animated words and phrases. Crosswordese and words that can only be found in the largest dictionaries should be eliminated. Depressing subject matter and derogatory or offensive words are not allowed. Words and phrases from everyday communications are encouraged. Brand names are acceptable if used moderately. Avoid abbreviations and acronyms entirely, or keep to a bare minimum. Avoid using the word "ONER" and other archaic words.

Check your work! Check your clues! Clues should be accurate, clever and intellectual. Be careful not to be redundant or boring in clue construction. A well-constructed crossword will contain a balance of puns, humor, intellect and logic. A solver should be tested on a wide range of subjects such as literature, motion pictures, popular music, art, classical music, mythology, history, geography, classic TV, sports and noteworthy names in the news. Avoid archaic words, obscure abbreviations, spelling variations and foreign words that are not used or encountered by the English speaking population. Do not let obscure words cross at ANY time.

USA Today Crossword puzzles must never have been published in any form. Timothy Parker buys and retains all rights, including first rights, worldwide, for publishing in any and all forms.

ANY AND ALL RULES MAY BE BROKEN AT ANYTIME! The emphasis is on “FUN!”

I encourage experimentation that bucks tradition.

FORMATTING CROSSWORDS FOR SUBMISSION

USA Today Crosswords may be delivered electronically using popular Windows crossword programs such as CrossDown or Crossword Compiler. Electronic delivery is greatly preferred:

E-mail (TP@masterpuzzles.com)

PAYMENT
$65 for a 15x15

All payments are made at the end of the month in which puzzles are published. Allow four-to-six weeks for acceptance notification.

UPON ACCEPTANCE, ALL PUZZLES BECOME THE SOLE PROPERTY OF TIMOTHY E. PARKER AND MASTER PUZZLES, INC.

The editor retains the right to edit all puzzles. In addition, Timothy E. Parker and Master Puzzles, Inc. shall have the sole right to license, sell, or otherwise authorize in any way, the use of the puzzles by newspapers published and circulated throughout the world, and in other media, and to take any action to exploit the puzzle as Timothy E. Parker and/or Master Puzzles deems appropriate.

Timothy E. Parker and/or Master Puzzles shall have the sole right to publish or authorize the publication of the puzzle in electronic form, book form, booklet form, pamphlet form, CD-ROM, on-line electronic services, or in any other form of electronic or mechanical publication or transmission, whether now existing or hereafter developed, and shall be the owner of all exploitation rights in and to the puzzle.

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