Tour Part 5 — Just for Fun

Remembering remarkable achievements

Before computer databases, even brilliant crosswords lived an ephemeral existence. After providing a nice diversion over a morning coffee or a subway ride, the discarded puzzles ended up wrapping fish or lining the bottoms of bird cages. A few lived on in collections but most were forgotten and there was no way to refer back to that incredible puzzle that knocked your socks off.

Similarly, while movie buffs could follow their favorite directors, most solvers didn't even bother to notice constructors' names since there was no way to follow their collected body of work anyway.

XWord Info is helping to change all that. Here's a guide to finding notable NYT crosswords.

Artistic grids

Two very popular pages on XWord Info are Grid Art and Visual Puzzles.

Grid art

The Grid Art page shows puzzles with clever or beautiful arrangements of black squares. Here are a few. You can click each grid to see the larger view.

Visual puzzles — grids to draw on

Sometimes the complete puzzle solution requires that you connect the dots or otherwise draw on the completed grid. Those are collected on the Visual Puzzles page. Some examples:
4/22/2009 11/5/2009 3/18/2010 6/17/2009 10/1/2008

Technical achievements

Record-setting puzzles aren't always great puzzles but they're often interesting, and XWord Info helps you track various categories.

Letter Counts

For example, here are the 15x15 puzzles with the most A's, E's, I's, O's and U's. That last one by Manny Nosowsky also happens to have the most Q's. Click here for the other record-setting letter counts.

ASFARASMARACA
MARSALAADAMANT
AGAKHANSANTANA
NANASDRAMSNAP
ASSNBALSA
TAMARABANNS
SPAMANAMASADA
CATWALKBACKBAR
ARRANTBAMASKA
BRANDCASABA
ATLASSWAG
GALAHASPPLATH
ALASKANATLANTA
GASTANKRWANDAN
SHANKSTANTARA
BEGSEWESELWES
ETREBERTFERDE
REEDBENEFEEDS
GREENSKEEPERS
ENCREPETTSE
NEEREEFPEGLEG
EVENEDLESE
WERNERKLEMPERER
ELECEDERLE
DESEEDSMEEETS
SEEVETBESET
CREMEDEMENTHE
DETERNEVETHEE
EVENTSLEWREEL
CEDESELLSERSE
KOBEISLETHAJI
ORESSTALEERIC
OBITBRIERACME
LIGHTNINGROD
STEERKEYMASAI
RABEPECTIN
HOGCAPTAINHOOK
OSOSLAILAERLE
WHATSMYLINEKID
DELRAYMOTE
YASIRAGONARCS
VIRGINIAREEL
ZUNIDIGITTHAI
IRONALLEEHASP
PINGSEISMABES
OHNOBROTWOD
MOORSLOBBOORS
OTROCOLORONDO
OLDSCHOOLOTTOS
COMPSHOT
HOHOHOKOMODO
OROOSMONDORRS
SLOPSOSOSTOOL
POCOMOTTSTONO
PHOBOSPROLOG
LOWSTOOD
SCORNSNOOPDOGG
NOTOKHOOKLOOT
OCHOSOWLSOPTO
BOOMOSSTSOS
SQUABSLEICA
LUNULADIAMOND
EILEENGUNRANGE
EXILEDONUSQRS
KONPRANKSQUIT
ETESAXESQUEER
REDALDERQUARRY
NOELQUAN
PESTLEQUILTERS
EQUALQUADANET
NUNSQUAINTDER
RIBQUINURSULA
ONEQUARTNOOSES
DELUISECODERS
STAPHSPARSE

Block count

The most famous record in crosswords is the quest for the fewest blocks or black squares. Here are the three whitest and, just for comparison, the two blackest grids.

Fri 7/27/2012   ( 17 )
Fri 3/15/2013   ( 18 )
Sat 8/7/2010   ( 18 )
Thu 3/16/2000   ( 53 )
Fri 4/8/2011   ( 56 )

And lots more...

Here is just a sample of the technical categories:

Rule breakers

We've come to expect that crosswords follow a set of long-established conventions, but these are puzzles after all and sometimes the aha moments come when those conventions are tossed aside.

Silliness

And now you're on your own

This tour barely scratches the surface of everything in XWord Info. Poke around on your own and you'll discover lots more. Have fun!

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