Corey Newman, 28, of Alexandria said he contacted the Post with his idea and editors put him in touch with crossword writer Bob Klahn, who concealed the first and last names of Marlowe Epstein, 31, as well as the phrase "will you marry me," The Washington Post reported Monday.
Epstein said she looked up from the puzzle to see Newman holding a ring.
"I was sort of blown away," said Epstein, who accepted the proposal. "I was so impressed that he managed to pull that off!"
Klahn, a veteran crossword writer, said he also crafted a 1998 puzzle for The New York Times containing a marriage proposal.