Why Stan Lee Is So Popular in Crossword Puzzles

Why Stan Lee Is So Popular in Crossword Puzzles

Responding to what I wrote a few weeks back about full celebrity names in puzzles, @guywriter mentions a few other celebs with 7-letters-or-shorter first and last names:

Nice list, and let’s take this opportunity to focus nerdily on one answer, comic book legend STAN LEE. The others are all famous, but STAN LEE is that rarest of crossword birds: he appears regularly in puzzles via his first name (4 letters), his last name (3 letters), and as both his first and last name (7 letters)! Very versatile. 

If you’re Ava DuVernay, you’re going to see your first name all the time in puzzles — but your 8-letter last name? Not so much. There are far fewer 8-letter words in puzzles than 3-letter words, so crossword fans will be mostly on a first-name basis with you. Mahershala Ali, on the other hand, gets the reverse treatment: his 3-letter last name pops up all the time, but his 10-letter first name is too long to appear in many crossword grids (unless it’s part of a theme). And both Ava’s and Mahershala’s full names, at 11 and 13 letters, would be rare guests as well. 

But STAN LEE and ANG LEE? We’ll see your first name, last name, and full name all the time. Note that folks like ED AMES on @guywriter’s list, AL ROKER, or JO KOY can’t be members of this club, since their 2-letter first names are too short to be used in standard American grids, whose minimum entry length is three letters. 

Got a celeb whose name you love to see in crosswords? Tweet it to #beastword and @ them if they’re on Twitter. And in case you missed them, check out these posts puzzle solving tips and constructor trivia:

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