Victor Anson (Vic) Fleming (1951–)

Victor Anson “Vic” Fleming of Little Rock (Pulaski County) is a judge, author, and adjunct law professor. He also writes crossword puzzles that appear in prestigious national publications, including the New York Times. In 2017, Fleming and former President Bill Clinton co-authored a Times crossword. Fleming appeared in the 2006 documentary film Wordplay, playing guitar and singing an original song, “If You Don’t Come Across (I’m Gonna Be Down),” about the relationship between a Times crossword and its solver.

Vic Fleming was born on December 26, 1951, in Jackson, Mississippi, to Elijah Anson Fleming Jr., who was a General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC) manager, and Norfleet Cranford Fleming, who worked as an administrative assistant for the Mississippi legislature. The family moved to Greenville, Mississippi, in 1961. After graduation from Greenville High School in 1969, Fleming attended Davidson College in North Carolina, earning a BA in English in 1973. During college, he served in the U.S. Army Reserves, being honorably discharged in December 1973.

Fleming received a juris doctorate (JD) in 1978 from what is now the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. In 2003, he became an adjunct faculty member at the law school, teaching an upper-level seminar titled “Law and Literature.”

In 1996, Fleming was elected Little Rock Municipal Judge, Second Division (known familiarly as “traffic judge”). He was reelected without opposition in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016; in 2020, he was reelected in a contested race.

In 2001, his position was renamed “District Judge” by law and officially became State District Court 31, Little Rock Division 2. Fleming presides over all traffic cases arising in Little Rock, about 20,000 annually, and several hundred domestic relations cases per year on assignment from the circuit court.

In 2003, Fleming took up crossword construction. He found considerable success, seeing dozens of his puzzles published in the New York Times, the acknowledged gold standard of the crossword world. His puzzles have also appeared in other venues, including American Lawyer, Arkansas Living, Games Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Rotary Magazine, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Random House Casual Crosswords, and Simon & Schuster’s Mega Crossword Puzzle books.

Fleming has also mentored several crossword authors, including high school students. At least nine of his protégées have had their work in the New York Times, and two of them became associate puzzle editors for the Times.

He has written two books of legal humor: Real Lawyers Do Change Their Briefs (1989) and Perry’s Dead! (And the “Juice” Is Loose) (1995). He edited The Sovereignty of Grace: A Collection of Sermons (1992) by J. Allen Smith, former pastor at the Second Presbyterian Church of Little Rock.

Fleming is also a published haiku poet and writes eight to ten songs per year. In 2007, he was inducted into the Arkansas Writers Hall of Fame.

For additional information:
Fleming, Victor A., and John Deering. Real Lawyers Do Change Their Briefs. Little Rock: Rose Publishing, 1989.

“District Courts.” Arkansas Judiciary. https://www.arcourts.gov/directories/district-courts (accessed July 14, 2021).

“Kerry interviews Judge Vic Fleming, State District Court Judge,” The Flag and Banner.com, April 6, 2018. https://www.flagandbanner.com/radio-show/vic-fleming-04-06-18.asp (accessed July 14, 2021).

“Victor Fleming.” Puzzazz. https://www.puzzazz.com/fleming (accessed July 14, 2021).

Nancy Hendricks
Garland County Historical Society

Last Updated: 07/14/2021

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