Hopeful boyfriend creates ‘engaging’ puzzle

Erin Hutfilz and Phil Guglielmi became engaged this weekend after the latter created a custom crossworld puzzle for his now bride-to-be, which ran in Saturday’s edition of The Courier. The puzzle incorporated Erin’s name (5 Across: CNN host Burnett) and the phrase “Will You Marry Me” (48 Across: Generic proposal). (Photo by Kevin Bean)


What’s a 14-letter phrase for “generic proposal?”

Better yet, what’s a three-letter word for “Hoped reply to 48 Across”?

“Will You Marry Me” abutted “Yes” on a custom-made crossword puzzle which appeared in Saturday’s edition of The Courier (Page A7). The proposal puzzle was created by Findlay native Phil Guglielmi, who was popping the question to crossword enthusiast and now-fiancee Erin Hutfilz, born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee.

It was a weeks-long collaboration between Guglielmi and the newspaper, but it’s an endeavor that paid off, as Hutfilz happily said yes upon completing a portion of the puzzle over breakfast at Scrambler’s on Saturday afternoon.

Hutfilz said she caught on that this was no “generic proposal” while filling in that particular clue.

“I’m like, ‘Wait, are you asking me?'” she said.

Knowing that her betrothed had created the puzzle for her also helped answer a few other questions, including why it didn’t look like most other crossword puzzles and why many of the clues were unconventional at best. “The whole time I’m doing it I’m like, ‘Why is this crossword so bad?'” she said with a laugh. “Now that I know, it’s my favorite crossword I’ve ever done.”

With all the excitement of becoming engaged, Hutfilz failed to actually complete the puzzle. It’s likely to remain only about halfway finished, as a friend has already volunteered to frame the newspaper page as a keepsake for the couple.

For his part, Guglielmi explained he chose this nontraditional proposal because he knows doing newspaper crossword puzzles is his bride-to-be’s “happy spot.”

“It just popped in my head one day like, you know, that might be cool, to make her her own puzzle,” Guglielmi said.

Hutfilz explained she joins her father at Starbucks as often as possible to complete the Nashville newspaper’s crossword puzzle. When she’s not in her hometown — she works as a traveling physical therapist — her dad sends a picture of the day’s puzzle on his smartphone, so they can complete the same puzzle on their own time.

This weekend, she got to send a picture of a special Ohio newspaper puzzle to her dad in Nashville.

Griteman: 419-427-8477
Send an E-mail to Brenna Griteman
Twitter: @BrennaGriteman


About the Author