Pre-Shortz puzzles FAQ
Questions about the puzzles in XWord Info from before Will Shortz became editor
How did you acquire these old puzzles?
Barry Haldiman has been litzing (digitizing) old puzzles for many years.
In fact, he supplied the Shortz-era puzzles from 1993 to 1996. The NYT does not have electronic versions of them.
In 2012, David Steinberg began a project to organize, digitize, and proof as many pre-Shortz NYT puzzles as possible.
He gathered a team of volunteers and started
The Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project
to accomplish this.
How are the Shortz-era statistics affected?
I keep all the pre-Shortz data separate from the Short-era stats.
Thanks to changes introduced by Will Shortz, modern puzzles are much different than older ones.
That doesn't mean older crosswords are uninteresting; there are many examples of creative ingenuity as clever as you'll see anywhere,
but stats based on these pre-Shortz puzzles are less relevant to modern solvers and constructors.
Can I find out, for example, how many Manny Nosowsky puzzles pre-date Will Shortz?
No. Constructor names are notoriously difficult to keep straight. I don't even try for the older crosswords.
How about old clues?
Those are available and are often fascinating.
Rules about valid clues were much stricter back then.
This resulted in some complex cruciverbal acrobatics just to find something suitable for common words like
When you look up clues for a word or words to fit a pattern on the Finder page
you'll see results separated into daily, variety, pre-Shortz, and dictionary entries.
How can I help the Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project
Click here for the main XWord Info FAQ.