Erin Rhode -- Hard!

Erin Rhode giving a curling yell on national television — which prompted Alex Trebek to respond “Harder! Harder! Harder!”

Welcome to my not-so-frequently-updated blog. Occasionally I have done things in my life that have warranted publicity, and yet I am not on Facebook so you won’t find any information about me there. (There are other people named Erin Rhode on Facebook — these are all doppelgangers.) However, if you feel like stalking me and this blog and twitter aren’t enough for you, here’s some other things that can be found on the Internet which are actually me.

Things Other People Wrote/Said About Me

  • KQED, Puzzle Me This: Why Are Puzzles More Popular Than Ever? — Bay Area public radio has this excellent show called Forum and during the great Wordle craze phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, they decided to produce a show about puzzles, featuring a number of puzzle constructors, including yours truly.  You can listen to me wax poetic about what makes a puzzle, why I enjoy writing code… and maybe incidentally dissing Wordle just a little bit.  (Full disclaimer: I still play Wordle.)
  • Vanity Fair, How One Tech Start-up Ditched Its Brogrammers — Shortly after starting at Zymergen, I fervently mentioned to the CEO that, contrary to what the other new engineer was saying, our interview process was great and we should not change it to match the rest of Silicon Valley.  Somehow that led to this article happening.  For the record, we resent the notion that we “ditched” brogrammers — we never had them in the first place.
  • Plymouth/Wayzata Sun Sailor, Who Is Erin Rhode? — an interview with me about my experience on Jeopardy in January 2015.  There’s a few other blogs and things that break down the game if you want to learn about how I never read Kafka. If you want the question-by-question breakdown of the game — and want to know how I got to say “What is damn?!” and be correct — you can find it on j-archive. And this forum gives the transcript of how I got Alex Trebek to chant “Harder! Harder! Harder!” on air.  A few years later, my friend Pranjal went on Jeopardy! and won 6 games, and the Daily Illini interviewed me about him.
  • Boston Magazine, The Thrill of the Hunt — based on an interview done with me prior to the 2014 MIT Mystery Hunt, where I was still sworn to secrecy regarding the hunt.
  • SnoutCast #202 — a podcast featuring puzzle makers in which I *was* allowed to talk about the details of creating the 2014 MIT Mystery Hunt.
  • New York Times, Time Travelers to Meet in Not Too Distant Future — in which I spout out some stuff about wormholes to make the NY Times think we were serious about our 2005 party, which Tina Fey later made fun of.
  • Eve Ensler and Joyce Tenneson, Vagina Warriors — I’m on page 79 talking (briefly) about my experiences producing The Vagina Monologues at MIT.

Puzzles and Games

  • NPL Extravaganza: Salt Lake City Buzz — I headed up the writing for the 2016 NPL Convention Extravaganza with some friends on my MIT Mystery Hunt team.  Feedback was positive, but I’m all tapped out of bee puns at this point.
  • American Values Club Crossword — I’m one of the committee constructors for this fantastic independent crossword puzzle.  You can find my puzzles in the archives and purchase them for $1 each.  My favorite is probably “A Bit of a Mind Flip” from December 5, 2018.  Or, just get a subscription to all of them.  It’s worth it.  The easiest way to see just the ones I wrote is to check in on the Erin Rhode tag on Crossword Fiend, which will also get you puzzles I wrote for other outlets such as…
  • New York Times Crossword — I made my New York Times cruciverbalist debut on June 26, 2015.  The official NY Times Wordplay blogger, Deb Amlen, said “I can’t tell you how much I loved this puzzle, but I loved it a lot.”  Diary of a Crossword Fiend thought it was a sparkling themeless debut.  Rex Parker liked it a lot less.  Sorry I’m not sorry, Rex.  On July 2, 2016, my second puzzle ran in the Times, making me the first woman in nearly two years to write a Saturday puzzle, and Rex Parker liked it better.  I also now merit an entry on XWord Info.
  • The 2014 MIT Mystery Hunt — I was the director.  Here are all the puzzles I wrote or co-wrote.  This doesn’t count the puzzles I edited or otherwise gave feedback to, which was almost all of them.
  • Prensner-Barbrow wedding (PDF) — A wedding gift for my friends, Sarah and John.  No knowledge of the bride and groom required!
  • Puzzles of the Day — In preparation for the Mystery Hunt, it’s tradition for me to write a (mini) puzzle a day the week or so before hunt for my team to get ready.  1950s Rock and Roll and Crass Commercialism are online as well as the entire 2015 pre-hunt practice hunt.
  • The 2004 MIT Mystery Hunt — I only wrote 8 puzzles for the 2004 Mystery Hunt.  Seems like such a small number after how I spent my 2013…
  • Not-published-online puzzles include a crossword for the 2017 Crosswords LA competition (which you can buy online), a bonus puzzle for Nathan Curtis’s Kickstarter, a puzzle adventure hunt for Steve and Kate’s Camp from summer 2014 (and they paid me!), the Cambridge Science Festival Hunt at the MIT Museum in 2010, a mini-scavenger hunt for the University of Michigan Women’s Glee Club in 2007, and numerous “Puzzles of the Day” mini-puzzles for my Mystery Hunt team written over the years.  Also a handful of flats for the National Puzzler League‘s Enigma magazine under the nom Colossus.


  • Curling, 2014 Arena Nationals — I skipped a team out of San Francisco and we won the consolation bracket!  I returned and skipped a team in the 2016 Arena Nationals… and slipped during the quarterfinals, getting a concussion and knocking us out of contention in more ways than one.
  • Curling and Crosswords, Brendan Emmett Quigley’s blog — competitive crossword solving is not really a sport, but a picture of me curling on a prominent crossword blog while wearing a baseball uniform is pretty much a comprehensive description of my interests.
  • Hockey, 2001 USCHO Statistics — I played a year of varsity hockey in college, solely on the basis of being from Minnesota.  Behold my pretty lousy stats.
  • Baseball, Twinkie Town blog — I post (infrequently) over at Twinkie Town under the username ColossusOfRhode.


Academic Publications and Patents

2 responses »

  1. I enjoyed your AVCX puzzle this week, and I especially enjoyed your twitter feed on the Astros/Dodgers game. I was there in person and didn’t get home until 3am. Work came early that Monday. If you are ever in Houston and would like to see an Astros game, my treat. I have season tickets and I know you can keep score better than I can.


    Don Lycette

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