May Huang and Kevin Trickey, both 24, lived in the same dorm at the University of Chicago in 2016, where they were both part of the school’s swing dancing club.
“I guess you could think of swing dancing as a game, in the sense that dancing is a sport,” May said. “It’s got the social element, a little bit of competition and a bunch of different moves,” she added. “Because we are each other’s main dance partner, though, there are now a bunch of moves that I feel like are special to us, and that only we lead and follow with each other.”
May and Kevin were friends for almost an entire school year before they realized they liked each other, but they were “assisted by some close friends’ nudging,” May said. They went on a spontaneous didn’t-realize-this-was-a-date to Lake Michigan after a swing dance performance. That night, as they looked out over the lake, there were fireworks. It was “super romantic,” May said.
May and Kevin would both prefer to have a game night over going out for drinks, she said, adding that they’re both “stubborn and competitive.”
During the pandemic, May downloaded the New York Times crossword app and made the daily Mini Crossword part of her routine. After a month of making what she called “May’s Minis,” she decided to try making full-sized crosswords of her own and created 15×15 grids, the standard size for The Times’s crossword puzzles. She and Kevin were both working from home and shared a desk, so he saw her working hard at creating the crossword puzzles. “I bet I could write you a program that could make a grid faster than you can,” Kevin told May. She accepted his challenge, and by the end of that month, Kevin had created a program that could churn out a full 15×15 grid.
In June 2020, after three years together, they were married at a courthouse. The following month, their project Crossworthy.net — a free, independent crossword site that features puzzles by May or the couple — was born. In January 2021, May and Kevin introduced Crossworthy Construct, the puzzle construction side of their platform.
They now live in Berkeley, Calif., where Kevin works for a food technology company and May works for a public relations firm. Because they married during the height of the pandemic, May and Kevin are hosting an in-person wedding celebration in June.