My friends on the XWord Muggles Forum know me as Darth. (It's my avatar, not my real name, but I like it.) I've been a member of this special WSJ meta community since May 2021, and it's a privilege to "use the Force" and publish puzzles for my friends there (my debut meta appearing in the MMM on 9/11/23).
In real life, I'm an ESL teacher in the School of Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Needless to say, I love language, international travel, and word games...oh, and leisurely time on the beach (...well, make that the "virtual beach" on planet Naboo!).
Tip Darth


· Published 2024-04-07T11:00:49.699Z

Hey, it's Darth here, and I'm excited to take part in "Smooth Sailing Sunday". This puzzle was conceived four years ago as a "wannabe" meta that never fully materialized. This year it crawled out of hiding and got a much-needed makeover...although it…

Union Station

· Published 2024-03-25T11:05:18.294Z

I love to travel. To date, I've experienced over 40 countries and all 50 U.S. states, with many repeat visits. As a young boy, I enjoyed traveling from MI to AK each summer with my family. One year we took a train from Chicago's Union Station to…

Lateral Thinking

· Published 2024-02-21T11:00:24.313Z

Hey there! It's Darth, and I'm excited to present you with my fifth meta puzzle. This idea for this one was formed after a family event during the holidays and was originally titled "Cryptic Collaboration" with the plan of presenting a meta challenge…

Pumping Iron

· Published 2024-01-08T12:00:18.583Z

Happy New Year! If you're like me, you took time at the end of 2023 to review the year and set resolutions for 2024. Starting fresh with new goals felt empowering, but one week in and we're already slipping, failing to follow through. Not surprising…

Make Mine Marvel

· Published 2023-12-04T12:00:17.870Z

Calling all Marvel fans (and/or meta crossword fans)!...
Like it or not, Marvel's "multiverse" of superheroes has invaded our world, permeating our popular culture. From the first issue of The Fantastic Four in 1961, Marvel's influence has expanded…

Sunken Treasure

· Published 2023-10-16T11:30:14.575Z

Of course, I'm a "Pirates of the Caribbean" fan, amused by the antics of Jack Sparrow in all his exploits and swashbuckling adventures. But in sobering truth, the real pirates of history were murderous thieves who plundered and terrorized sailors…

It's My Treat!

· Published 2023-09-11T11:00:30.870Z

I'm always surprised to find Halloween candy on the store shelves in early August, right there next to back-to-school supplies. I don't know why we can't just enjoy summer a little longer before rushing into fall festivities. That said, this puzzle…