Puzzlemaster Will Shortz '77 to Deliver UVA Law Commencement Address

Will Shortz

New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz has also been puzzlemaster for NPR's "Weekend Edition" since 1987. Photo by Donald Christensen, Courtesy of American Crossword Puzzle Tournament

October 26, 2015

Puzzlemaster Will Shortz, crossword editor for The New York Times and a 1977 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, will deliver the commencement address May 22 to UVA Law's Class of 2016.

Shortz, probably the world's most famous puzzle guru, is the author or editor of more than 500 books on puzzles. In addition to his work as the Times' crossword editor since 1993, Shortz has been puzzlemaster for NPR's "Weekend Edition" since 1987 and has been a guest star on television sitcoms "The Simpsons" and "How I Met Your Mother." He also was the subject of the 2006 feature documentary "Wordplay."

We are thrilled to welcome Will Shortz to speak to the Class of 2016," said third-year law student Morgan Lingar, president of the Student Bar Association, which selects the speaker each year. "One of the most impressive things about UVA Law is the diversity of professions in which our graduates go on not only to excel in, but to lead. Will Shortz's career epitomizes this. We believe his unique career path will make him a compelling speaker for our class and that his passion and commitment to his work will speak to all of us."

After earning the world's only college degree in enigmatology — the study of puzzles — from Indiana University in 1974, Shortz enrolled at UVA Law. As a law student, his favorite subject was intellectual property, and he wrote a paper on "Copyright Protection for Puzzles and Games."

Shortz is founder of several puzzle-related events and organizations, including the annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament and the World Puzzle Championship, for which he was U.S. team captain from 1993 to 1998. He was an editor for Games magazine from 1978 to 1993 and wrote the riddles for the 1995 film "Batman Forever."

Shortz also owns the world's largest library of puzzle books and magazines, which numbers more than 25,000 volumes and contains material dating to 1533.

A resident of Pleasantville, New York, he owns the Westchester Table Tennis Center there, the largest table tennis facility in the Northeast.

The Law School's commencement will begin at 1:15 p.m. May 22 on the Holcombe Green Lawn. In the case of inclement weather, the Law School ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena. The event will be moved to 5 p.m. at the arena should severe weather hit.

The University's Lawn ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. on May 22. The severe weather site for the University exercises is also John Paul Jones Arena.
Reported by Amanda Alderman

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