The Authors Most Often Mentioned In Crossword Puzzles



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After Wordle took over our screens in 2022, word games continued to climb in popularity. Once seen as a niche hobby, it’s now common to see someone puzzling over a crossword on their phone as a daily activity. Of course, there’s a pretty big overlap between crossword puzzlers and readers: we’re both word people. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that authors frequently come up as the answers to crossword clues.

Crossword Solver has analyzed decades of crossword clues across 62 newspapers in the United States, and United Kingdom, and Ireland to see which authors are mentioned the most often. The authors of literary classics are mentioned frequently, but the writer who takes the crown as the most mentioned of all time is still writing today: Stephen King.

Here are some graphics showing the most mentioned authors in crossword puzzles from 1913 to 2023.

an infographic of the authors named the most frequently in crosswords, beginning with Stephen King, Dr. Seuss, Mark Twain, and Agatha Christie
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Perhaps unsurprisingly, given that this is analyzing Western newspapers going back 100 years, the vast majority of the authors in this list are white. Of the top 50 authors, at a glance only two are authors of color: Toni Morrison and Alex Haley. Langston Hughes also appears in a couple U.S. newspapers’ most frequently mentioned authors, which you’ll see below. While that may not be shocking for these newspapers in the 1910s, it’s worth noting that the top five authors named in the 2010s and 2020s continue to be all white people.

Here is a breakdown of the most mentioned authors by genre. (Please ignore the typo on Roald Dahl’s name.)

an infographic of most mentioned authors by genre
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Crossword Solver has also sorted results by newspaper.

a graphic of authors in crossword clues brown down by newspaper
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Finally, we can see how these numbers have shifted over the decades, including when Stephen King overtook Dr. Seuss as the most-mentioned author.

a graphic showing the number of times each author was mentioned in crossword clues per decade
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You can see all the results as well as methodology, commentary, and more at Crossword Solver.

Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.