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TRIP PAYNE is a 45-year-old puzzlemaker living in California. He has been making puzzles professionally since 1983 and has been a full-time freelance professional since 1991. He currently edits the Daily Celebrity Crossword Facebook game and app.

He was the "Word Expert" on the CBS game show Million Dollar Password, a segment producer on The Hub's show Scrabble Showdown, and a researcher on GSN's The Chase and CMT's Win, Lose, or Pawn.


365 Mind-Challenging Cryptograms; The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Word Puzzles (co-author); Crosswords to Strain Your Brain; Pop Culture Crosswords; Sit & Solve Scratch Movie Trivia; three volumes in the Sit & Solve Crosswords series; all nine volumes in the Crosswords for Kids series; and more. See the bookshelf for more details.


Editor-in-chief of Herald Tribune Crossword Puzzles Only, Large Print Crosswords, and Crosswords & Other Word Games magazines, 1990-1991.

Former contributing editor to Games, Games World of Puzzles, and Crossword magazines.

Former proofreader for Creators Syndicate, Dell Champion Crosswords, and other magazines.

From 2002-2004 he edited all the games for a popular Internet puzzle-game site.


Over 4000 published crosswords and variety puzzles in such magazines, newspapers, and books as these: The New York Times; The New York Sun; New York Newsday; The Wall Street Journal; The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; The New Yorker; Games Magazine; Life & Style Magazine; TV Guide; Dell Champion Crossword Puzzles; Creators Syndicate; United Feature Syndicate; Simon & Schuster Crossword Puzzle Book Series; Expert's Book of Crosswords; Masterpiece Crosswords; Random House Ultrahard Crosswords; Random House Editor's Choice Crosswords; etc.

Small magazines and by-mail crossword clubs for more dedicated solvers include Tough Puzzles, Tough Cryptics, Cryptics Monthly, Uptown Crossword Club, Crossword Puzzles of the Month Club, etc.

Magazines that have run specially commissioned puzzles from him include Golf Magazine, Manhattan File, American Times, Out, and many more. He has done specially made puzzles for small publications based on all kinds of subjects: laser discs, apartment complexes, electronics products, plumbing seals, and much else.

Corporate clients have included IBM, NPR, Amtrak, MetLife, Dodge, Fox TV, Hanna-Barbera, Fruit of the Loom, Kleenex, and many others.

He wrote around 750 games for a popular Internet puzzle-game site.


He has been a member of the National Puzzlers' League since 1986, serving as vice president from 1991-1992. He hosted the group's annual convention in Atlanta in 1998. He created or co-created vast multi-puzzle team games for the 1991 and 1993 conventions.

He won the annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in 1993, 1998, and 2004, made the final round eight more times, and has never failed to make the top 10. He was one of the featured solvers in the hit 2006 documentary Wordplay.

In 1992 he was awarded the industry's "Wynner Award" (named for Arthur Wynne, the original creator of crosswords) for making one of the best crossword puzzles of the year. In 2002 one of his crosswords was voted Puzzle of the Year by solvers of the New York Times crossword puzzle.

In 1990 he served on the four-person American team that won the International Crossword Marathon.

He has been ranked among the top 50 Scrabble players in North America.

In 1999 he was the first contestant on the US version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire to win $32,000.

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All website contents © 2016 Trip Payne, except where otherwise noted. All rights reserved.