AMU builds games division with crossword puzzle all-stars

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Shelly Barkes
Communications Director
Andrews McMeel Universal
sbarkes@amuniversal.com
(816) 581-7498

Kansas City, MO – Andrews McMeel Universal (AMU) is pleased to announce two significant developments in its puzzles and games division: David Steinberg, who has been serving as editor of Universal Crossword for Andrews McMeel Syndication (AMS) while finishing his degree at Stanford University, has officially joined the company full-time. Erik Agard, regarded as one of the most talented constructors of his generation, has also joined the ranks at AMU, serving as a puzzle constructor under Steinberg.

AMU is currently the leading distributor of daily puzzle and word games, and according to CEO Andy Sareyan, “The addition of these superstars in the crossword world speaks volumes to our commitment to this growing part of our business.”

David Steinberg published his first crossword puzzle in The New York Times at the age of 14; at 15, he became the youngest crossword editor for a major newspaper, the Orange County Register. To date, nearly 500 of David’s puzzles have been published in The New York Times and other publications, including the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. He is also the author of two books of crosswords.

Erik Agard’s crosswords have appeared in The New Yorker, Crosswords With Friends, the Arizona Daily Star and elsewhere. He is the author of two books, co-organizer of the Indie 500 Crossword Tournament and a co-founder of the Crossword Puzzle Collaboration Directory, an online group that provides resources and mentorship for aspiring puzzlemakers from underrepresented groups. Agard wrote or co-wrote 10 New York Times puzzles in the first half of 2019 and is a former “Jeopardy!” champion.

The casual game industry is a $2.25 billion market that continues to grow annually. “In addition to expansion in the crosswords realm, with our investments in role-playing games (RPGs) and digital games, we are poised to take a much larger piece of that pie,” said Sareyan.

In May, tabletop RPG designer and author of the best-selling RPG Zweihänder Daniel D. Fox joined AMU as Executive Creative Director of Games. Fox will create and acquire RPGs and related products, as well as work with AMU creators to identify opportunities for extending their brands into the world of games.

Also in May, former General Manager and Vice President of Games and Digital Products at Cartoon Network Chris Waldron joined AMU as Chief Digital Officer. He will lead AMU’s expansion into the digital game space as well as lead AMU’s Digital Products and Information Technology departments.

ANDREWS MCMEEL UNIVERSAL

Founded in 1970, Andrews McMeel Universal is an independent, multi-faceted, global entertainment company. Distinguished by a creator-first approach and the uncanny ability to tap into the zeitgeist of popular culture, Andrews McMeel specializes in comics, illustrated humor and inspirational content distributed across multiple platforms, with a remarkable roster of talent across syndication, book, calendar and greeting card publishing, digital consumer experiences, and entertainment licensing, including dozens of New York Times bestselling authors and Pulitzer Prize-, Reuben Award- and Emmy-Award-winning creators.