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Heat Map showing white & black square probabilities

The darker the square, the more likely it is to contain a block.

Heat map for all 15x15 puzzles in the Shortz Era

Here's the combined heat map for all the Monday to Saturday puzzles.

The whiter corners show that most puzzles start with a 3- or 4-letter word at 1 Across. The fifth row and the fifth column are more likely to start with a block.

Puzzles by Day of Week

The heat map evolves over the week. Monday puzzles tend to have similar grids with few corner blocks. By Thursday, the grid is less predictable, and the themeless Friday and Saturday grids are even more different. Note that center-square blocks are more common in themeless puzzles, which are less likely to have long answers across the middle row.

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday 21x21 puzzles

Sunday puzzles are large enough to accommodate a wide variety of grid patterns, but blocks are still more likely in some locations than in others.

Pre-Shortz 15x15 puzzles

The combined pre-Shortz results have greater contrast between white and black squares, implying less variation in the grid shapes.

Note

Colors are normalized. Pure black here means that location is the least likely to contain a block, not that there's zero probability. Black or white squares can appear anywhere.

You can view the white probability of each square by hovering your mouse cursor over it.