How New York Times Crosswords Have Changed Over The Years?

by Max Fragar
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This post will tell you how the New York Times has changed and what it expects from its solver.

The first-ever puzzle published in The New York Times newspaper was by Daniel Larsen. He was only 13year old when his debut puzzle was published.

The puzzle enthusiasts have always loved the New York Times. And their love for crossword puzzles has made the newspaper puzzle popular.  

The readers have told how the New York Times has changed over the years. They have also tried to make others solve crosswords with the tips and tricks they have learned.

With this, they have made strong relationships with other crossword lovers who are passionate about puzzle quizzes. They love to be in a place where love and laughter are valued. 

Well, The New York Times wants to thank all its readers for loving the word puzzle game. They are also thankful for being a part of the crossword community.

The First Crossword Puzzle Ever

Initially, the crossword was considered a primitive mental exercise. The editors of the New York Times made a decision to offer the Sunday puzzle to its readers as an escape from the unpleasant war news of World War II in the newspaper

At that point in time, the editors were very skeptical as they didn’t have any way of knowing that this bit of frivolity that has been passed over by four crossword editors in 77 years will soon turn into a massive hit. It turned into an overnight success in the puzzle making industry.

That was only the starting point. Now we will shift the focus towards 2010.

How Crossword Puzzles Have Changed? 

You all are aware of the fact the difficulty level of puzzles keeps on increasing. Besides this, the New York Times Crossword has collected some facts over the years, and here are some of them:

  • There have been many new ideas regarding puzzles. One of them was by the magical celebrity crossword maker, Neil Patrick, and David Steinberg, in which solving online puzzle completely makes the revealer disappeared. 
  • Joel Fagliano and Sam Ezersky were two of the very talented crossword constructors who joined Will Shortz’s team and brought a new perspective to the puzzle entries and clues.
  • The crossword game team has grown exponentially having 40 talented individuals. They include developers, designers, art directors, quality assurance engineers, product managers, marketers, customer care representatives as well as social media analysts. 
  • Over the years, there has been an incredible improvement in the online crossword solving experience.
  • In 2008, a blog started under the auspices of Jim Horne and Patrick Merrell. It soon turned into a daily column in which new solvers could get help while solving. All the crossword lovers within no time wrung every drop of enjoyment from the grids. Besides this, they gained confidence in their abilities and keep having fun with the community of like-minded people.
  • IOS and Android apps have allowed solvers to solve their favorite puzzles on the go.

What the Solvers Have to Say About NYT Crosswords?

The Puzzle Master

Will Shortz has helped the New York Times Crossword Puzzle to reach this far. As soon as Shortz joined the New York Times after the ‘Games Magazine’, the world has recognized that his contribution to pop culture and vernacular has made daily crossword puzzles more interesting.

One of the crossword enthusiasts Miriam Raphael of Rye, New York says, “I have known each of the Times crossword editors and I have enjoyed each of their individual styles, but I think that Will Shortz edits and publishes the most interesting ones”.

He has previously participated in the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. 

Another regular NYT solver Elizabeth Bezerra, of Durham, N. C., also believes that the “puzzles are more interesting; they require less dictionary-type knowledge and more creative thinking.” 

Although sometimes it becomes quite challenging to solve such puzzles I’m striving hard always.

Another solver Bonnie Sirower of Glen Rock, N.J. prefers Will Shortz crossword where the editing should be done by Will Weng. 

For a few more puzzle solvers like Kathleen Verron of Wilton, he loves to stay current and updated as per the trend.

What strikes him the most is the embrace of vernacular. She lovers the conversational long answers. The clues and their answers are perfectly timed. 

Initially, the most challenging thing for them was to understand how to approach different types of puzzles. This came to a learning opportunity.

Solvers feel that their vocabulary, cognitive skills, analytical and logical skills have grown over the years as they have been regular crossword solvers. And the practice has made them a much better solver and there is still a lot they want to explore. 

Diversity is all that Matters

The NYT crossword is always up for new, younger, and diverse solvers. But there is a lot more to be done even today.

Women and young people having different professions have started creating unique grid puzzles that have added vibrance on the whole.

And the New York Times Crossword is not only for the Big Apple residents anymore. Cluing has become even stronger than before.

The twists and turns are loved by the audience and the wordplay has become funnier.

The Technological Advancement & Accessibility of NYT Puzzles 

All the Crossword Solvers are thankful for Dark Mode in the app. Well, the overall focus is now on digital solving.

David Harris of New York City is a solver who believes that digital accessibility is bringing in more solvers, allowing themes to be implemented while making it easier to keep up with the puzzles.  

The most significant change in the crossword world revolves around technology and making the crossword more approachable to different people.

They love that they are able to access and solve the puzzles white switching from one device to another.

You might be solving a Monday puzzle on phone on their way to the office in the morning and move to the iPad on Tuesday.     

In addition to this, individuals have realized that they have started playing the puzzle game more on the online app.

It has transformed them into a regular solver. Earlier, people mostly solved newspaper puzzles, even today they do. But a lot of them have shifted to the mobile world. 

Devilish Streaks

Streaks were introduced so that people solved puzzles every day. It has managed to change the way people mark time. People have loved solving now more than before. 

The Crossword Community

Sitting down while solving a crossword seems like a solitary activity and there are many who enjoy doing that. Today, when people have become more mobile than ever, there is an intense need for community.

As millions have become crossword fans and try solving puzzles every day, this explosive interest of individuals has led to the “golden age of crossword” according to Will Shortz. 

He says, in the last five years, crossword puzzle solving has become much more of community activity.

Between solving regular puzzles to attending crossword tournaments, this crossword community has drastically grown. 

Another popular community on Twitter #NYTXW and various crossword podcasts have taken puzzles to another level. Solvers feel that they are a part of a diverse community that has similar interests. 

Not only this, but a few nerdy individuals have also become close friends and they have even started constructing puzzles that have been liked by Will Shortz. As people say, it is always better to solve puzzles together. 

The addition of multiple new games and social media amplification has made trying online puzzle games more entertaining. Moreover, the rise of crossword blogs has made some more critical.

Playing with Words 

Mr. Horne and Mr.Merrell decided to leave The New York Times for a trek climb to the mountains in late 2010. At that time, Will Shortz offered the job of writing WordPlay. 

He was a humor writer at that point of time who wrote one humor column and a humor book. The marriage came to an end and had two children to support.

But Will Shortz believed in him and knew he would be able to write full sentences instead of terse clues. This is the only reason Shortz wanted to give him a chance. And this changed his life forever.

Today, he wants to thank Will Shortz for giving him this amazing opportunity. This job of crossword construction is more fun than anyone could ever imagine.

It is a thrill to sit down with the laptop every day and communicate with this amazing community. 

His first Wordplay byline was on Jan 2, 2011, and when he looks back today, he has managed to make more than 35000 pieces for The Times. Wordplay and he has evolved with time.

“Who Made My Puzzle” Section

The New York Times has brought crossword makers in the limelight. Before solving the crosswords, many ignored the name of the puzzle maker as they never gave it a thought.

In this section, in particular, the complete crossword journey of the puzzle makers has been described. They tell how they got interested in this puzzle quiz, challenges, accomplishments, and how they feel today.

Do you know that this has also inspired many to try their hands on crossword construction? Yes, there are some crossword lovers who have tried making new puzzles and have sent submissions for publishing.

Wrapping Up

Crossword is a magical game of words where players have to understand the clues and then solve the black and white grid. 

The New York Times Crosswords has given the crossword industry a lot. This is a game that will only help you get better. Having technology and the Internet around everything and anything is possible. 

If you still haven’t spilled the beans for yourself, now is your time. Take a New York Crossword and start solving crossword puzzles right away.

Have fun!

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