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Tony Orbach

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Tony is a native downtown New Yorker who went to public schools, including the math-and-science-focused Stuyvesant High School, then on to NYU. He spent several years playing saxophone in the band Urban Blight, and has done numerous studio recordings for a wide range of pop artists, from Bob Dylan to the Beastie Boys, as well as a stint in the pit orchestra for "The Full Monty" on Broadway. Tony started making crosswords while on the road -- literally, in the band van -- with time to kill and plenty of graph paper and erasers. A "puns and anagrams" puzzle for a family member came from that stint, but it was enough to hook Tony on crossword construction and by 2004 he had his first acceptance from the New York Times. He has also made puzzles for Mel Rosen's Random House Casual Crosswords, Peter Gordon's New York Sun, Rich Norris's Los Angeles Times and the Crossword Club, and Mike Shenk's Wall Street Journal. Tony makes primarily themed crosswords, and the occasional themeless, and he also enjoys solving acrostics and diagramless crosswords. His favorite themes often involve famous names and he has a weak spot for anthropomorphism in clues and puns, so be on the lookout for elephants having tea or weasels in tuxedos. Tony lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with his wife Martha. They have two mostly-fledged young adult children, Sarah Kate and Peter. Tony is a construction project manager and does residential and commercial contracting in Manhattan and Brooklyn. When not building townhouses or crosswords, Tony still plays his horn and does a bit of recording, most recently with David Yazbek and Kevin Batchelor's Grand Concourse.

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