Daniel Stark, coauthor of The Million Word Crossword Dictionary, is a professional crossword creator and editor whose work appears nationally in newspapers, books and magazines. He lives in upstate New York with his wife and collaborator, Roslyn.
Dan's interest in word and number games goes back a long way. In fifth grade, he won a Scrabble game as an award in English class and soon realized the value of compiling and then memorizing all the two- and three-letter words he could find. In seventh grade, he read the "Encyclopedia Americana" word-by-word through the letter L. At that time, a friendly librarian gave him some discarded college textbooks on geometry and surveying which then sparked his interest in math.
After majoring in mathematics at Cleveland State University, he began a career as an IBM mainframe systems programmer and database guru, traveling extensively in the Midwest. In this capacity he began to explore the possibilities of microcomputers in an integrated corporate network, several years before IBM developed the PC. Seeing the potential of the micros and minis, he learned Basic, then Pascal and C to aid him in establishing some early mainframe-microcomputer applications.
In 1986, in response to a challenge from Roslyn, he began developing PC software to aid in the construction and typesetting of crosswords. After completing the prototype, he began using it and soon he and Roslyn had developed extensive word and clue lists to assist the project. Dan's background in database design and programming were invaluable in the compilation of this book.
Over the past 15 years, the Starks have created and edited more than 10,000 crosswords. Dan has constructed puzzles for The New York Times, Newsday, and the Crosswords Club. He creates daily and Sunday crosswords for United Feature Syndicate and is a frequent contributor to Dell Puzzle Magazines.
The Starks have edited 26 volumes of the Crosswords Challenge series for Running Press and have also authored a book of crossword puzzles for Reader’s Digest. Dan has also compiled two New York Times crossword-reference books (with Stan Newman).
For relaxation, he and Roslyn read voraciously, hike, and practice meditation and flower gardening.