Plagiarism scandal puzzles crossword community
The crossword community is trying to solve a puzzle within its ranks: a plagiarism scandal. The alleged culprit is one of the world's most prolific crossword editors, who is accused of lifting black and white grids from other sources and re-publishing them.
Is that crossword p _ _ g _ a _ _ z _ d? <a href="https://t.co/Gryrwzm8FX">https://t.co/Gryrwzm8FX</a>—@nytimes
An article published on the website FiveThirtyEight alleges Timothy Parker, a crossword puzzle editor, whose work has been published in more than 80 countries, has plagiarized puzzles that appear in major newspaper publications.
"Many puzzles, more than 60, at least, appear to be identical with puzzles in the New York Times."- Ben Tausig
The allegedly plagiarized puzzles appear in USA Today as well as Universal Crossword, a syndicated service that appears in papers all over the world, including The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail. The puzzles are edited by Timothy Parker, who holds the Guinness World Record as the most syndicated puzzle compiler.
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"It was a puzzle that had my name on it from 2015 that had been published in USA Today, and I haven't sent anything to USA today in 10 years."
As a [crossword] editor, it makes me feel kind of sick.- Ben Tausig
Tausig realized he had sent the puzzle to editor Timothy Parker in 2004. Parker then re-published the puzzle two more times, once using a pseudonym.
"It may be within the rights of the editor to do that, but it's not considered good business practice," says Tausig.
Tausig says his discovery isn't the only case of plagiarism. "Many puzzles, more than 60, at least, appear to be identical with puzzles in the New York Times."
Timothy Parker dismisses the claims of copyright. In the same FiveThirtyEight article he says that overlap is bound to happen.
"Out of 15,000 [crossword puzzles], I'm not surprised at all, I would expect it to be a couple of hundred."
Tausig disagrees. "The database shows there are no other examples in major crossroads of anybody copying or replicating puzzles to that extent, there's only one outlet here," He says.
Tausig says he and the tight-knit crossword community hopes this whole ordeal gets wrapped up as soon as possible.
"As a [crossword] editor, it makes me feel kind of sick."
USA Today and The New York Times have both said they are looking into the matter.