ADRIENNE RAPHEL has written for the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the New Republic, Slate and Poetry, among other publications. Her debut poetry collection, What Was It For, won the Rescue Press Black Box Poetry Prize. Born in southern New Jersey and raised in northern Vermont, she holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a PhD from Harvard.
Who would ever have thought the innocent crossword would hide such an intriguing story! After reading Adrienne Raphel's beautifully researched account, full of humor and personal insight, I've come to see these puzzles in a new light, and I certainly now treat their creators with fresh respect. -- Professor David Crystal, author of The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language Thinking Inside the Box is a witty, wise, and wonderfully weird journey that will change the way you think. Raphel is an insatiably curious and infectiously passionate guide who plunges headfirst into the rich world of puzzles and the people who love them to reveal the fascinating acrobatics of language and the inner life of words. This book is a delight. -- Bianca Bosker, bestselling author of Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste If you remember precisely where you were when you first encountered the words ETUI and ONER, I suspect you'll be enchanted by Adrienne Raphel's Thinking Inside the Box. This delightfully engrossing, charmingly and enthusiastically well-written history of the crossword puzzle tells you everything you need to know, and any number of things you couldn't have imagined, about the invention and eventual world domination of the thing that daily scratches a particular human itch: the yearning to solve a riddle, the desire to fill in a blank space, the obsession with perfection . -- Benjamin Dreyer, bestselling author of Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style Thinking Inside the Box, like the puzzles it elegantly features, is full of treasures, surprises and fun. Adrienne takes readers from Will Shortz's empire hub in Pleasantville, NY, to the pages of Vladimir Nabokov's crossword butterfly puzzle doodles, to the blistering hotel ballrooms of crossword competitions, richly bringing to life the quirky, obsessive, fascinating characters in the crossword world. You'll never think about filling in the squares the same way again.' -- Mary Pilon, bestselling author of The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World's Favorite Board Game and The Kevin Show: An Olympic Athlete's Battle with Mental Illness For crossword puzzlers of every ilk, from solvers of the Monday-edition no-brainer to pencil-chewing addicts of the cryptic, Thinking Inside the Box is a gold mine of revelations. If there is a pantheon of cruciverbalist scholars, Adrienne Raphel has established herself squarely within it. -- Mary Norris, author of Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen