, pub-2774194725043577, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 L.A.Times Crossword Corner: Interview with Pancho Harrison


Apr 1, 2009

Interview with Pancho Harrison

Pancho Harrison officially ushered us into the Rich Norris era 9 days ago.

His puzzles have appeared in LA Times, NY Times, NY Sun, Wall Street Journal and maybe some other newspapers/magazines that I am not aware of.

Today is only our second Harrison puzzle, but I am confident that we will see more of his creations in the future. Let's get to know him a bit.

Your name intrigued a few solvers on March 23 when your "Numeral Prefixes" puzzle appeared. What is your background and how did you develop an interest in crossword constructing?

I'm a musician, and was in jail for a short time for a traffic offense. I started doing crosswords in the newspapers that were lying around. I discovered that I was good at them, and got to wondering who was writing them. When I got out, I did some research and found a mentor to help me, and an editor who saw that I understood the basics. The rest is history.

How would you describe your puzzle style? What kind of themes/fills fascinate you?

Wordplay is my thing. I sell many different kinds of themes, but my forte is the pun.

Is it tougher to design a grid or cluing entries? And why?

Designing a grid is fun, usually. Cluing is more like data entry.

What puzzles do you solve every day? And which constructor's work gives you the most trouble?

When I have time, I do the NY Times in the local paper. On Fridays, I check out the Wall Street Journal and the Chronicle of Higher Education puzzles. As far as which constructor's work gives me the most trouble, I would have to say that I'm not looking for trouble! I'm looking for a challenging, rewarding crossword experience. The puzzles that bug me are the themeless Friday and Saturday puzzles that are just ego-projects for the constructor/editor. For me, they're just a waste of time. I have never written a themeless puzzle, and I never will.

What would people find one thing that's most surprising about you?

I'm smarter than I look, thank God. . .

Thank you, Mr. Harrison


Crockett1947 said...

Thank you, C.C. for another good interview, and Thank You, Mr. Harrison for sharing your insights with us.

Clear Ayes said...

I'd be interested to know if Pancho Harrison thinks being a musician has a correlation with crossword constructing. Maybe a discipline or interpretation thing and that's why he picked up a crossword while in jail?

Or was he was playing a tuba in the middle of the 405 freeway at 5:00 pm on a Friday evening. LOL That would definitely be a traffic offense.

Anyway he discovered his talent is a plus for us. An interesting straight-forward interview with a down to earth guy.

Thanks Pancho and C.C.

Dennis said...

Great interview - sounds like a pretty neat guy. No airs -- refreshing.

carol said...

Mr. Harrison sounds like a very honest and interesting person...who likes to have a bit of fun too! Good to know there are people like him in our world.

Thanks C.C. for working to get the interview and for sharing with us.

WM said...

C.C. Thank you for another great interview. I very much like mr. Harrison's point of view...and his puzzles. And, like him...I'm much smarter than I look.

It is really great to get the insight of the puzzle designer.

Razz said...

Thanks Pancho and CC: What a refreshing interview. Well done Q&As.

Lemonade714 said...


great interview.

Linda said...

No pretensions for Poncho...just lay it all out there...I like that. How much of it is true and how much "for effect?".
I love the pun-ny genre, of my, as-of-yet-unaccepted puzzles is mostly puns...I also like "rhyme time" as in "holy moley!"
Looking forward to more "Oh, Pancho"s.