What is Crosswords for Congress?
It’s a website for people who enjoy solving crossword puzzles. And it’s about civic engagement. It’s easy, rewarding and committed to social justice.
1. Read the post. Easy.
2. Solve the puzzle. Rewarding.
3. Tweet or email the U.S. Congressperson on the wrong side of the issue addressed in the puzzle by using the Twitter/Email tabs provided below the crossword grid. Boom. Social justice.
By completing Step #3, you’ll be sending the official message of Crosswords for Congress: “Dear Congressperson, I solved this puzzle – can you?”
How often do you run a new crossword?
This is a weekly thing. A new puzzle goes up every Wednesday morning.
How difficult are the puzzles?
If you can figure out why HAT is the answer to the clue “Fashion item found in mid-Manhattan?” then you’re good to go. For solvers familiar with the Monday-is-the-easiest-day-and-each-subsequent-day-of-the-week-the-puzzle-gets-a-little-harder model used by the New York Times crossword, these puzzles are usually of a Tuesday/Wednesday difficulty level.
How can I contact you?
It seems like these crosswords are different from those I solve in my daily newspaper for two reasons, right?
First, crosswords you solve in traditional media wholeheartedly avoid politics. There is no political agenda in the crossword of the New York Times and no left- or right-wing bias in the crossword of USA Today. Even the Wall Street Journal keeps things apolitical in its puzzles. Over the years, its clues for OBAMA have never gotten more fiery than “Michelle Robinson’s married name” or “Port north of Kyoto.”
Second, for over a century, when you had completed a crossword, that was it. You were done. Pen down. Commence smugness. Crosswords for Congress is new and different because it asks the solver to do one more thing after the puzzle’s completion. This might feel strange. You, the crossword solver, might worry the added demand of contacting an elected official will harsh your puzzle mellow. Worry not. Want to feel really smug? Be a political activist.
Is it a requirement to contact the recommended member of Congress after solving a crossword?
You can just solve and enjoy the puzzles. Having done so, you’ve already become a more informed citizen.
I clicked on the tab that lets me email the Congressperson you’ve singled out but it sent me to a page requiring me to fill out a web-based contact form. What gives?
Ideally, Crosswords for Congress would provide its users with an email address each week that, when clicked on, would automatically open a pre-drafted email to a U.S. Congressperson. This, however, is too good to be true. There was a time, not too long ago, when you could simply reach out to jesse_helms@helms.senate.gov or senator_lieberman@lieberman.senate.gov. It appears those days are over. Members of Congress have found thicker doors to hide behind.
I encourage you to fill out the email form but if you’re in a rush and just want to click-and-go, there’s Twitter.
I want to contact my own (or some other) Congressperson about the issue raised in this week’s crossword. Can I do that?
I try to make it easy for visitors to this site to contact one wrongheaded member of Congress a week. But I encourage solvers to flex their activist muscles and help address the concerns raised in Crosswords for Congress by contacting anyone else serving:
Directory of Representatives
Senators of the 114th Congress
Are there rules or guidelines for the Comments section?
Don’t use profanity. Be civil. U.S. laws are peppered with words like “reason” and “reasonable” (“beyond a reasonable doubt”). Be reasonable. Use good judgment. Humor is always welcome.