The Inkubator has three missions.  

  1. First, we aim to deliver to paying subscribers professionally constructed puzzles that meet the solver’s high expectations for entertainment and fair challenge.
  2. Second, we want to help women new to the field develop their constructing skills.
  3. Third, we provide a venue for women to exhibit and get paid for high-quality puzzles, especially (but not exclusively) puzzles that may not have a chance at mainstream publications due to feminist, political, or provocative content.  

Check out the campaign that brought us to life:OUR KICKSTARTER

Illustration by Ben Kirchner

Laura Braunstein

is a librarian at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. She has had puzzles published by the New York Times, Puzzle Society, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Women of Letters, and is a team member with the American Values Club Crossword. She constructed for the 2018 Indie 500 and for Boswords 2017 and 2018, and blogs for Diary of a Crossword Fiend. When not crossing words, she advocates for #openaccess to scholarship, edits Wikipedia, bikes and skis on mountains, and discusses politics with her kids. 

Illustration by Ben Kirchner

Tracy Bennett

is a managing copy editor for Mathematical Reviews/MathSciNet in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her crossword puzzles appear as a feature called “X-Games” in BUST magazine, and she’s on the constructing team making puzzles for the Crosswords With Friends app. She has had puzzles published by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chronicle of Higher EducationQueer Qrosswords and Women of Letters. She constructed for the 2017 Indie 500 and donates puzzles to Groundcover News, a 501(c)(3) organization taking action to end homelessness and poverty.

Meet the Constructors!

Tina Lippman (she/her)

#1: Carmen Miranda’s Hat | 01.17.2019 

I got interested in making crosswords about a year ago. This is my first published puzzle. I’m originally from New England, but currently live in southern Indiana with my husband, teenage daughter, and cat. I’m a librarian by training, and have worked as a college financial aid officer and a composer of grammar questions for the SAT.

Rebecca Falcon (she/her)

#2: Notorious: A Moment of (T)Ruth | 01.31.2019 

Rebecca is stoked to be a part of the Inkubator and to be sharing this puzzle with all of you! A life-long New Yorker, Rebecca is currently in Park City, UT running the Filmmaker Lodge at Sundance Film Festival – but she’ll be back in New York and available to hire by the end of February! If you need a bad ass problem solver with plenty of high profile events, operations, producing, and customer service experience across different arts industries, you’ve found her! Follow her on Twitter: @rebeccafalcon18

Kelly Kizer Whitt (she/her)

#3: The V-Word | 02.14.2019 

Kelly Kizer Whitt’s crosswords have been published in newspapers and magazines such as Country Woman, Reminisce, and Our Wisconsin. Her book Badger Brain Twisters: Wisconsin Trivia, Games, Puzzles and More! was published in 2007. She is also the author of three novels and a children’s picture book about weather on the planets titled Solar System Forecast. Kelly has been writing about astronomy for two decades and can be found on Twitter at @Astronomommy.

Robyn Weintraub (she/her)

#4: Themeless #1 | 02.28.2019

Robyn has been constructing crosswords for almost a decade. She’s had 20 puzzles published in the New York Times, plus another dozen or so in other newspapers and magazines. For the past two years she’s been active in local politics, working as a legislative aide and campaign manager in Westchester County, New York. Robyn is happy to help aspiring constructors and can be found on Twitter at @Robynw414.

Tracy Gray (she/her)

#5: Please Be Flexible | 03.14.2019

Tracy has been constructing puzzles since 2010 and has had 24 puzzles published in the New York Times. She also has been a regular contributor to the USA Today Crossword for 1 1/2 years and has had puzzles published in the Wall Street Journal, Universal Crossword, NYT app, and Simon & Schuster Mega Books. Besides crossword constructing, Tracy has a passion for gardening and spends many hours in her own backyard perennial garden as well as doing the bookkeeping for her and her husband’s lawn/landscaping company in Baltimore County, MD.

Stephanie Cerra (she/her)

Cryptic #1 | 03.21.2019

A longtime fan of cryptic crosswords, Stephanie began constructing them a few years ago, and this is her rst published puzzle. She’s a book reviewer for Kirkus Reviews and a freelance writer, editor, and tutor with a master’s degree in English literature/Victorian studies from Indiana Uni- versity. Stephanie lives in Redwood City, California, with her husband, Paul, and cat, Mr. Pancks. Find her on Twitter at @StephanieCerra.

Wendy L. Brandes & Martha Jones (she/her)

#6: Mutual Funds | 03.28.2019

Martha and Wendy have published puzzles in The Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times. They have worked together for the past few years and are relatively new to the crossword universe. Wendy, a lawyer by trade, is also a teacher at SUNY Old Westbury and the author of seven children’s books. As a huge Yankee fan, Wendy aspires to be the rst to use Aaron Judge as a theme answer in a puzzle! Martha, a former high-school mathematics teacher and social worker, enjoys travel, gardening, and spending as much time as possible listening to live music.

Mary Lou Guizzo (she/her)

#7: Scale Models | 04.11.2019

Mary Lou Guizzo is a retired Blood Bank (SBB) technologist whose hobbies include hiking and swimming. Her puzzles have been published in the New York Times, the Orange County Register and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Her rst puzzle appeared in print in 2013. She was honored to be part of the “Women of Letters” crossword project in 2018.