Variety Puzzle FAQ

Questions about Second Sunday puzzles in XWord Info

What are variety puzzles?
Every Sunday, the NYT publishes two word puzzles -- a large Sunday crossword and a variety puzzle. Acrostics alternate weeks with cryptics and various other special puzzles.
Why have they been added to XWord Info?
There is some brilliant work here that I want to organize and surface for others to see. Many of the best clues have been in acrostics or other variety puzzles.
Which variety puzzles are included in XWord Info?
Acrostics are included back to mid-1999. Other puzzles are here if they look enough like standard crosswords to be published in Across Lite format. That includes cryptic, diagramless, and panda (Puns and Anagram) puzzles, as well as a small number of vowelless crosswords.
What about Split Decisions or Going Too Far or Spirals?
Split Decisions have no clues. Spirals have clues which could be tracked but Across Lite doesn't support them. Going Too Far puzzles don't work in Across Lite either so, again, there are no electronic versions of them.
Is variety data integrated with data from normal puzzles? Does it "count" in the stats?
Variety data is separate and variety clues and puzzles do not affect constructor stats. This is probably unfair because these puzzles are at least as hard to construct as normal crosswords but I want to keep the main stats for daily and Sunday puzzles only.
There is a combined view of answer words, though. If you enter a word on the Finder Page, you may see two tables. The top shows all the occurences of that word in "normal" puzzles. The lower table shows all the clues from variety puzzles.
Is the data here complete?
No. As explained earlier, many variety types are not included at all. For those I do include, I rely on the puzzle archives at the NYT Crossword page. Variety puzzles haven't been curated with the same care as the daily puzzles, so there are gaps. I'm working to fill these in over time. Variety puzzles also don't go back as far.

Click here for the main XWord Info FAQ.