One of the more common hobbies that you’ll find worldwide is the daily crossword puzzle. It’s estimated that more than 50 million people play crossword puzzles each day, and there is a wide variety to pick from. Between the USA Today, Washington Post, New York Times, and many others, people can play the old-school way with pen and paper or online.
With such a wide net of players, there was always bound to be some famous people who avidly play crossword puzzles. Here are five famous people who are obsessed with crossword puzzles and talking about why they love them.
New York City native Jesse Eisenberg got his acting career starting while he was a teenager in the late 1990s, and became a star in the late 2000s thanks to his roles in films like “Zombieland” and “The Social Network”. He then went on to star in blockbusters like “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”, playing legendary villain Lex Luthor.
Eisenberg has used crossword puzzles to help him calm down and prepare for roles as it helps him get more in touch with other members of the pop culture world. Eisenberg was involved in the 75th-anniversary celebration of the New York Times crossword puzzle, as well, creating his own puzzle. “I initially created this puzzle thinking that it would be released around Thanksgiving,” he said. “As a nod to my family, vegetarians who celebrate ThanksLiving, I thought we would create a puzzle for vegan dinner options.”
Bill Clinton served as the Governor of Arkansas from 1983 until 1992, and in that final year launched his campaign to become the third-youngest President in United States history. Clinton unseated George H.W. Bush from the White House and assumed the office for two terms. While Clinton didn’t receive much downtime while being the leader of the free world, he did spend much of that free time filling out crossword puzzles.
“Half the time I do these things just to see what people are thinking about,” Clinton said, hoping that crosswords would keep his finger on the pulse of society. “Sometimes you have to go at a problem the way I go at a complicated crossword puzzle,” he added. “You start with what you know the answer to, and then you build on it. A lot of complex problems are like that.” Clinton has even authored crossword puzzles over the years for the New York Times, perhaps the most well-known publication crossword puzzle.
A highly-decorated actor, John Lithgow started his career on Broadway in the early 1970s and never looked back. Showing off a wide range of skills from comedies like “3rd Rock From the Sun” to dramas like “The Crown”, Lithgow has done it all.
Lithgow has been playing crossword puzzles for many years and even collaborated with the New York Times to create a puzzle with veteran constructor Brendan Emmett Quigley. Lithgow said that it was “exhilarating.” He added that it was “a lot of fun” and that you “learn the mysteries of crossword puzzle construction.” Lithgow was able to display his “pride and joy” live on “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon, even including the show as one of his clues in the puzzle.
Not all documentary filmmakers are well known, but Ken Burns is one of those that’s a household name. Between his love for the sport of baseball and wars around the world, Burns has released some of the most celebrated documentaries of all time. He’s received Grammy Awards, Emmy Awards, and many others over his illustrious career.
Burns mentioned that he still plays crossword puzzles on a daily basis, saying that he sticks to the New York Times and never misses one whether it be in print or online. He even keeps track of his times, saying that on Saturdays he hopes to accomplish the puzzle within 15 minutes (the day with the easiest puzzles) while some of the more difficult puzzles can take around 25.
Lisa Loeb burst onto the music scene in the mid-1990s thanks to the release of her song “Stay (I Missed You)” which became the number-one song in the United States. She released several successful subsequent albums and branched out her career into other forms of entertainment including acting and hosting, landing a regular spot on SiriusXM’s 90s on 9 satellite radio station.
While Loeb didn’t really play crossword puzzles in the 1990s, she started doing it much more after her children were more grown up and she had downtime on tour. After becoming a more avid crossword player, Loeb was tabbed to help create a puzzle for the New York Times and said that making the puzzle was a lot like writing a song. “When you collaborate, you have certain ideas which are the structure, like the ‘posts’ of the house that keep it all together…but then just the laughter and the joking and the side conversation that you have when you’re coming up with ideas and what’s important to you…it felt like writing a song.”