Well, I've said it before, I like Caleb's style, I love the fact he's like a 40 year-old trapped in a teen's body, and I like his fashion statement he's making in the above picture. Okay, let's do this interview, shall we?
BEQ: Shouldn't you be preparing for the SATs or something college related?
Caleb: Probably. I just submitted my Early Action application and am procrastinating furiously to submit my others. Right now, I'm just focusing on the usual hell of schoolwork. Can anyone explain Linear Algebra to me? Anyone?
BEQ: Paging Jared Hersh and/or David Quarfoot. Anyway, tell me how you got into puzzlemaking in the first place.
Caleb: I used to casually help my grandmother do Sunday New York Times puzzles when I was in middle school. After the movie "Wordplay" came out, I tried constructing a bit, but my grids were asymmetric, themeless, and probably over 90 words ... in a 15x15. I traveled to the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament that same year, and approached Will Shortz after the finals and asked for an internship. After interviewing, I got the gig, and, with some of Will's help, got my first puzzle published in 2008. Since then, I haven't been able to stop.
BEQ: Tell me about this crossword class you teach.
Caleb: I teach a weekly class in crossword construction at the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged. I've taught it for the past three semesters. Not only is it a great break from being a student, I get to tell THEM to raise their hands! But I also gain a lot of perspective on the art of construction through trying to explain it to others. Each semester, our final puzzle is published in the Times. This semester, we've made a great Sunday puzzle (a first for JASA) but, because of a similar theme run in a daily Times recently, it's going to have to wait a year or so for publication. Keep an eye out for it though!
BEQ: What do your friends think of your puzzling career?
Caleb: I'm a teenage guy, so, of course, my friends do give me some shit about an admittedly nerdy hobby. Besides that, though, my friends are extremely supportive and respectful. They try the puzzles when they come out, congratulate me, and then try to mooch off of my pay. What else could you expect from New York City public school boys?
BEQ: Where do you see yourself in like ten years?
Caleb: First off, this. For real, though, I have no idea. Right now I'm just trying to take a lot of classes in subjects I'm interested in, hoping that my career path will reveal itself to me just like crosswords did. As of now, I'd have to say... probably still in school.
BEQ: Is it just me, or is Natan Last totally full of shit?
Caleb: You know, his parents were originally going to name him "Comesin", because of how much of a loser he is? Don't even get me started...