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608 crosswords with JNotes

These JNotes are Jim Horne's personal observations.

Shortz Era puzzles

Sunday, July 2, 2017 — THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD by Patrick Blindauer
I'm old enough to appreciate any Beatles theme. Do check out Patrick's "this arrangement" link in his notes.
Monday, June 26, 2017 by Brian Greer
This is Mr. Greer's NYT daily crossword debut, but he has contributed three cryptic crosswords already.
I love the 1 Across clue.
Sunday, June 4, 2017 — ADVICE TO WRITERS by Tom McCoy
The PDF shows that this grid was hand-drawn in print. Garson Hampfield would be proud.
Wednesday, May 31, 2017 by Jacob Stulberg
In 2008, Liz Gorski used a similar string of I's to hold up an arachnid.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017 by Bruce Haight

A grid with only 7 different letters is an NYT record. The previous mark was 8, set in this 2015 puzzle, also by Mr. Haight. Here's a list of all the other low letter-count grids.

The record holder before that was yesterday's constructor Peter Gordon who used only 10 letters in this 2001 puzzle, a grid that set a different record which will never be broken.

If I told you how much I admired this puzzle, you'd probably accuse me of in-house bias, so I'll stick to factual observation. This is the third NYT puzzle using this grid pattern. The first two are also by Mr. Chen.

Jeff and I both admire XKCD. You may know that XWord Info has a Crossword Blogosphere page that pulls recent blog posts from RSS feeds on several well-known sites. About a year ago, for no reason other than our own amusement, XKCD was added to that mix.

I love this puzzle. Language Log has a nice post about it.
Sunday, March 26, 2017 — MIXED RESULTS by Tracy Gray and Jeff Chen
Elizabeth Gorski had an interesting color mixing puzzle back in 2013.
Friday, March 17, 2017 by Jacob Stulberg
This is only the third NYT crossword with up-down mirror symmetry. Here are the first two.
Thursday, March 2, 2017 by Peter Gordon
Trivia question: Besides Benjamin Harrison, name two other former White House denizens whose names are double dactyls. You'll know them when you get them.
Tuesday, February 28, 2017 by Jacob Stulberg
Update: Reader Jordan Cahn caught an error in my previous remarks in this section. HAWAII is, yes, the southernmost state. Alaska is the northernmost. Alaska also stretches out over the 180th Meridian, making it the westernmost and the easternmost state as well. Thanks, Jordan!
Very clever, Mr. Chen. Very clever.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 by Jesse Eisenberg and Patrick Blindauer

We count this as Mr. Blindauer's 63rd puzzle because we include his eight Variety puzzles. (Click his photo to see thumbnails of all his work.) Seven of his Varieties are Diagramless, but the eighth, called Out of Order, is clever and original and highly recommended. Try it before you jump to the answers.

Across Lite (Be sure to read the Notepad!) and Solution.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017 by Matthew Sewell and Jeff Chen
"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears" is the first line of a speech by Mark Antony in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Act III, scene II.
This is only the second ever NYT crossword with up-down mirror symmetry. Here's the first. Our Symmetry Page is here.
Sunday, January 8, 2017 — THE DOWNSIZING OF NATHANIEL AMES by Peter Broda and Erik Agard
I love the title on this one.
This is Mr. Chen's 17th NYT crossword in 2016. Others in double digits are David Steinberg (12), Zhouqin Burnikel (12), Patrick Berry (11), and Timothy Polin (10). Here's the breakdown by year.
Sunday, December 25, 2016 — MARRIED COUPLES by Kevin G. Der
Terrific puzzle. One of my favorites this year.
Friday, December 23, 2016 by Robyn Weintraub
To Ms. Weintraub's point, in 2016, there were only 9 Friday and 6 Saturday daily crosswords by women.
Saturday, December 17, 2016 by Zhouqin Burnikel
I liked this one even more than Jeff did. It had me at 1 Across.
Friday, December 2, 2016 by Andrew Kingsley
LAVABO is a nice treat for Sondheim fans who know the word well. Sweeney Todd is described: "His needs were few, his room was bare, a lavabo and a fancy chair."
Sunday, November 20, 2016 — CROSS REFERENCES by Ed Sessa
Patrick Berry had a similar idea a little over a decade ago where a CHICKEN crosses THE ROAD. But why?
Wednesday, November 2, 2016 by Andrew Kingsley
Did you notice that the grid is asymmetric? Mr. Kingsley's way to avoid this problem (caused by the way the words in the quote break) is to bend the usual symmetry rule, but in a way that nearly fools your eye.
Beautiful grid. Here are some more. Also, for those who like to freak out about cheater squares, this one has 12. Click Analyze below.
Friday, October 28, 2016 by Mary Lou Guizzo and Jeff Chen

They don't let me award POWs around here but this was my favorite puzzle this week.

"Certain logic gate" is a tough clue for NOT but every once in a while it's nice that mathematicians, physicists, computer scientists or logicians get to have something to feel smug about.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 by John E. Bennett
Mr. Bennett is branching out. His first two puzzles had similar grids, including shades/circles. This one, with mirror symmetry no less, is different.
Monday, October 3, 2016 by Jacob Stulberg
In the print version of this puzzle, the clue for 24 Down is: Language in which "hello" is مرحبا
Thursday, September 22, 2016 by Jeffrey Wechsler
Pronouncing each number in the appropriate language makes: set pieces, dry martini, sex therapist, trace elements, wheat fields.
Sunday, September 18, 2016 — MAKE A DASH FOR IT by Jeremy Newton
Very clever theme.

Here are the anagrams:

Across: 1. Tori 5. Teen's 10. Neuter 14. Kin 15. Nation 16. Drove 17. Part 19. Jihad 20. Top 21. Region 22. Avis 24. Shade 26. Ship 27. Slog 28. Glided 31. Secured 32. Caper 34. Nap 35. Triage 36. Part 39. Dawn 42. Name 43. Pepsi 46. iPad 47. Posh 49. Large 51. NaCl 53. Blaise 55. Straying 56. Spots 58. West 59. Things 60. Part 63. Deseret 64. Nerve 65. Steins 66. Former 67. Diary 68. List

Down: 1. Producer 2. Animal 3. Strain 4. Slump 5. Slashes 6. Weak 7. Resort 8. Casual 9. State 10. Golfer's 11. Mail 12. Plane 13. Agreed 18. Item 23. Sources 25. Hasbro 26. Gardenia 29. Agree 30. Lead-in 33. Cruise 37. Maher 38. Decimal 39. Relents 40. Run 41. Fighter 44. Singer 45. Rahm 48. Actor 50. First 52. Sister 54. Bat 56. Risqué 57. Shoe 61. Vote 62. Cool

Humor is such a personal thing. I was amused by the punchline and thought it tied the theme together perfectly.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016 by Matthew Sewell
Clever theme.
Wednesday, August 10, 2016 by David C. Duncan Dekker

This is the first ever QUINTUPLE pangram in the NYT. Double pangrams appeared occasionally even in pre-Shortz grids. The first triple was by Matt Gaffney in 1998. Then, Peter Wentz managed a quadruple in 2010 but required 16 columns. In 2013, Raymond C. Young squeezed a quadruple into a standard 15x15 grid. Today we have another milestone from David C. Duncan Dekker who had a triple pangram just last year.

Here are thumbnails of all seven Shortz Era multi-level pangrams and for a slightly different view, here are the same puzzles with the scrabble values colorized so you can more easily see the letter distributions.

This page shows pangrams organized by constructors so you can see who has been most enticed by the challenge. One pre-Shortz constructor seems to have been obsessed by them.

Amazingly, or perhaps inevitably, today's puzzle destroys another record as well. It has by far the highest scrabble average of any NYT crossword.

Friday, August 5, 2016 by Brendan Emmett Quigley
Brendan Emmett Quigley is one of a very few top constructors who have established a strong, unique voice. Congratulations on 20 outstanding years.
Wednesday, August 3, 2016 by Neville Fogarty

Relying on AUNT Sally and her order of operations acronym has fallen out of favor, and for good reasons. There are plenty more operators beyond the simple ones Sally happens to mention. Even if you do understand the arbitrary rules, it's easy to write confusing or misleading mathematical expressions.

Software programmers in particular are taught to avoid reliance on them. Extra parentheses clarify intent with no downside since compilers strip out unneeded ones for you. Worse, computer languages don't all agree on the order rules and some, like APL, ignore them completely.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016 by Natan Last, Finn Vigeland and J.A.S.A. Crossword Class

Fans of Hamilton or Harry Potter and the Cursed Child may disagree but I still insist that Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen (the so-called Ring Cycle) is the greatest theatrical work you can ever experience. It forever changed music and drama in fundamental ways and is still a huge influence on everything from visual art to movie scores. Whatever you might think of opera, see it at least once in your life.

Ms. Rhode is the first woman to have a Saturday NYT puzzle since Elizabeth Gorski in 2014. You need to go back another two years for the one before that.
Tuesday, June 21, 2016 by Julie Bérubé
Timothy Polin had a similar theme last year.
This blocky puzzle is reminiscent of what sometimes happens in diagramless grids, like this one by Frank Longo from 1999.
Monday, June 13, 2016 by Lynn Lempel
This is the 75th NYT puzzle for Ms. Lempel.
Wednesday, June 1, 2016 by Wren Schultz
The marks in question have been added to the four letters below although, depending on the device you're reading this on, they can be hard to see. Patrick Merrell had a similar idea in 2010 with tilde Ns and David Kahn crossed acute Es in 2012.
Thursday, May 26, 2016 by Andrew Zhou
Impressive puzzle. I love this innovative theme.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016 by Paula Gamache
Fans of French film are familiar with Pathé. The great Children of Paradise, for example, is a Pathé production. ETRES looks odd but it's legit, and no odder, if you think about it, than the English word beings. "Les êtres humains" translates to "human beings."
Friday, May 13, 2016 by David Phillips and David Steinberg
Congratulations to Mr. Steinberg on his 50th NYT crossword.
Sunday, May 8, 2016 — TRAPPED MOISTURE by David J. Kahn
Finn Vigeland used a similar gimmick in 2013.
Wednesday, May 4, 2016 by Jacob Stulberg
Longfellow's ode to Seattle, The Rainy Day is a quick read.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016 by Finn Vigeland
This is my favorite puzzle of the week.
Monday, April 25, 2016 by Betty Keller
Accentuate the Positive was written by two of the greats from the American Songbook era. Music is by Harold Arlen, lyrics by Johnny Mercer.
Sunday, April 10, 2016 — SOMETHING IN THE WATER by Randolph Ross
This is the 42nd NYT Sunday puzzle for the prolific Randolph Ross, and his 103rd overall.
Sarah Palin has been honored (if that's the right word) in crosswords before but this is the debut for her full name. Why did it take until 2016? Clearly, it's a conspiracy by the NYT and the rest of the lamestream media.
Friday, April 1, 2016 by Peter Gordon
All good things must end but I, for one, am sad to see NYT Crosswords wrap up. At least I'll now have time to work on my table tennis game.
Saturday, March 26, 2016 by Damon Gulczynski
This grid pattern has only been used once before, 18 years ago.
Thursday, March 24, 2016 by David Liben-Nowell and Tom Pepper

Jeff feels that BEG THE QUESTION "feels like a tenuous connection" to this theme. The word pedant in me disagrees — that's the answer that made this puzzle sing. While the phrase has come to be (mis)used as a synonym for "raise the question" (this makes no sense to me!) it has traditionally meant "take for granted or assume the truth of the very thing being questioned" which is exactly circular reasoning.

If this feels wrong to you, take comfort in knowing that we word pedants always lose in the long run. "Irregardless" will become standard form, "I could care less" will somehow make sense, and the original (Aristotelean, apparently) meaning of "beg the question" will be lost forever.

Anyway, I love logic puzzles and I love crosswords so a crossword about logic works for me.

Sunday, March 20, 2016 — DOUBLE-CROSSED by Joel Fagliano
Patrick Berry had a similar puzzle in 2007 where the undoubled letters spelled LEFTOVERS.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016 by David J. Kahn
A rare correction: The crossword puzzle on Wednesday provided an erroneous clue for 1-Across, seeking the answer "Elmira." The clue should have read "Upstate New York city where Mark Twain was buried" — not "born." (He was born in Florida, Mo.)
Sunday, March 13, 2016 — DON'T SUE US! by Tom McCoy
Circles in grids have referred to circular things in the past. Elizabeth C. Gorski did it with champagne bubbles and with car wheels. Mr. McCoy goes a step further. As Jeff points out, today, the circles represent circles. Nice.
Friday, March 11, 2016 by Martin Ashwood-Smith
"Head Stone" (41 Down) made me laugh.
Friday, March 4, 2016 by Evans Clinchy
Flag of Bahrain In the print version of this puzzle, the clue for 5 Down is "Country with this flag":
Monday, February 29, 2016 by Joel Fagliano
This is the sixth Leap Day puzzle in the Shortz Era.
Sunday, February 7, 2016 — ADDING INSULT by Alan Arbesfeld
Jeff's right, humor is personal. I found these amusing.

We've seen similar ideas before, and in fact three of the theme answers are identical to puzzles past: these two in the same grid from 2009, and this one from 2006. But wait, there's more! This crossword from 2008 has the same theme but with all different answers. Some ideas are rich and thick enough to invite recycling.

Starting with ONE (its own square root) is cleverly misleading. Note that publication date is 2/4/16.
Tuesday, February 2, 2016 by Peter A. Collins
I like MACH TWO because that's the speed of the Concorde I took from Heathrow to JFK. (That's not even a humble-brag; it's just a brag.)
Sunday, January 17, 2016 — TWISTING ONE'S WORDS by Jeff Chen
Jeff apparently skips over the theatre section of his newspaper. Julie TAYMOR was in the news for months over the "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" debacle. She co-wrote the book and began as the director, only to end up suing her producers and eventually settling out of court.
Thursday, January 7, 2016 by Andrew J. Ries
Here's a nice touch; each entry that extends beyond the grid is also a legitimate crossword answer in its truncated form.
Wednesday, January 6, 2016 by Jules P. Markey

Solving crosswords is such a personal experience. Your own background hugely affects your enjoyment of each one. For this long-time audio guy, TEAC is a great entry. Oh, and Broca's Brain is a fascinating book.

Saturday, January 2, 2016 by David Phillips
Oops. The clue for 34 Down has what programmers call a sign error. Marcus Claudius MARCELLUS captured Syracuse in 211 B.C.E, not A.D. 211.

This crossword was part of a unique four-puzzle Monopoly by Ben Tausig.

The brilliant podcast "99% Invisible" did a fascinating episode on The Landlord's Game just last month. You can listen to it or read about it here.

Simply put, the RIEMANN hypothesis is a deep mathematical conjecture which states that the nontrivial Riemann zeta function zeros, i.e., the values of s other than -2, -4, -6, ... such that ζ(s)=0 (where ζ(s) is the Riemann zeta function) all lie on the "critical line" σ=R[s]=1/2 (where R[s] denotes the real part of s).

On a somewhat unrelated topic: while CASUAL SEX may be new to NYT solvers, it's a colorful and welcome phrase. Crosswords can be somewhat staid but they also have a history of lightly flirting with the slightly risqué. Who can be surprised when such behavior eventually leads to casual sex?

Since Jeff called me out, let me try to defend myself and this theme. English is full of amusing curiosities, and one of the curiouser is that some nouns exist only in plural form (you can't use a scissor or wear a pajama, a sunglass, or a trouser) yet when they're used as adjectives, they are singular. Why? It's a mystery. And like most amusing curiosities of English, it makes for a fine word puzzle theme.

If math puzzles are more your thing, proving that integers from 1 to n sum to n(n+1)/2 is a fun challenge. Try drawing pictures. You'll get a nice Aha moment when you realize why it works.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015 by David Steinberg

The previous R record, a mere 30, was set back in 2011 by Paul Hunsberger.

Mr. Steinberg is a crossword historian so he knows all about the contributions of Margaret Farrar (27 Across). He runs The Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project which has digitized every known crossword in NYT history going back to the first one in 1942.

Sunday, November 8, 2015 — THREE-PEAT by Tracy Gray
Regular Expressions are a powerful way to find patterns like this and the XWord Info Finder supports them. See all the "three-peats" in our database with this regex query: (\w\w\w)\1. (The \w means "any letter".)
Sunday, November 1, 2015 — FRAME JOB by Zhouqin Burnikel
I love my Amazon Echo. (47 Down)
Tuesday, October 20, 2015 by Sam Buchbinder
Saturday, October 3, 2015 by Barry C. Silk

Yes, a baseball QUADRUPLE PLAY is at least theoretically possible according to the rules. A fourth out can be called to cancel a scored run on a triple play that should be disallowed because of, say, a base-running error. Baseball-Reference.com has an example.

I applaud a puzzle that encourages you to look up something that you not only didn't know, but that you assumed must be impossible. Bravo.

Friday, October 2, 2015 by Patrick Berry
Jeff and I don't always agree. To me, "Fits on a hard drive" is a Clue of the Year candidate.
Friday, August 28, 2015 by Samuel A. Donaldson
With this, his first Friday, Mr. Donaldson has now hit for the cycle.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015 by Patrick Berry
Yes, only the 4th Wednesday for Mr. Berry. The only reason he has even one Monday and Tuesday is that he needed six consecutive days for his 2011 "Cross" word meta challenge. If you somehow missed this terrific puzzle set, try them.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015 by Caleb Emmons
A remarkable achievement. I'm impressed.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 by Bruce Haight

The NYT published this amusing correction: The crossword puzzle on Tuesday provided an erroneous clue for 1-Down, seeking the answer "Baa Baa." The clue should have read, "Salutatory cry to a black sheep, in a nursery rhyme" — not "Black sheep's cry, in a nursery rhyme" — because it is the unnamed speaker of the rhyme (not the sheep, of course) who says, "Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool?"

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 by Jacob Stulberg

In only his seventh NYT crossword, Jacob Stulberg has already established himself as an extraordinarily creative constructor. His previous puzzles have included Five Golden Rings and the clever two pints make a quart. He gave us a cubist Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2 and then cracked me up with a reference to the classic Who's on First. He even classed up the puzzle page with a lovely William Carlos Williams poem. Today's theme is yet another innovation. Bravo.

Thursday, May 14, 2015 by Kameron Austin Collins
Sunday, May 10, 2015 — LITERARY CIRCLES by Jacob Stulberg
My kind of puzzle — a fun NORWAY fact, a reference to a great Mike Leigh film, and a poem. Poetry is all about economy. You might have thought his First Version was stripped to the essentials but you're not William Carlos Williams.
Saturday, May 9, 2015 by Kristian House
Jane Krakowski singing Muffin Top.
Friday, May 8, 2015 by Ian Livengood
This puzzle by Ian Livengood was published on his 32nd birthday.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 by Joe Krozel and Peter Collins
This puzzle was constructed by 1 Across and 55 Down.
Monday, April 13, 2015 by Alex Silverman

Stacked grid-spanning theme answers is a stunt that gives me a nice endorphin rush — how is that even possible? I wish I'd thought of Will's example when I used to blog about crosswords (I used to blog about crosswords) because it's perfect. A long palindrome judged by the standards of poetry or literature is very likely to come up short, but that's not the point. It's cool!

Jeff tends to be less forgiving of the consequent clunky compromises so I'm curious to read his thoughts. In the meantime, I have one of the most beautiful Lennon-McCartney songs stuck in my head, "She's Leaving Home" from Sgt. Pepper. Which, by the way, is a stunt song because of its very repetitive chord structure. (None of the Beatles play on it; there's a small string orchestra instead.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015 by Jacob Stulberg
Numerals in the grid are unusual but this is the fifth occurrence of H2O. The first was in a 1964 Sunday puzzle edited by the first NYT crossword editor Margaret Farrar, and constructed by her successor, Will Weng.
Sunday, March 22, 2015 — UPSIDES by Jeremy Newton
Outstanding puzzle!
Sunday, February 8, 2015 — MULTIFACETED by Jeremy Newton

Electronic versions of this puzzle had the clue for 111-Across as you see it here. The magazine had a different one, with an error. The NYT published this correction: "The crossword puzzle on Page 48 of the Magazine this weekend, seeking the name of a company as the answer for 111-Across, transposes the Hebrew letters in the clue. It should be: אל על, not לע לא."

Sunday, January 11, 2015 — PERSONAL STATEMENTS by Peter A. Collins
It's interesting to see how the name choices differed in a similar theme 32 years earlier.
Triple-triple stacks are not that uncommon any more but this is the first time they've intersected. All previous examples laid them out horizontally.
This is an important myth for crossword solvers. We get our word "clue" from the "clew" (ball of thread or yarn) that Ariadne gave Theseus to help him find his way out of the labyrinth.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015 by Joel Fagliano
Back in 2002, Elizabeth Gorski had a different twist on the famous double helix.
In 2009, Jeremy Newton had a standard version of this automatic puzzle.
Sunday, December 28, 2014 — FILL-IN-THE-BLANKS by Joe Krozel

I liked this one even more than Jeff did. Each of the theme entries was fun.

I think there are a couple of reasons for the theme confusion. First, assuming Jeff's analysis is correct, the theme is entirely contained in the clues. That is, you can uncover the theme without entering a single letter in the grid. This isn't unheard of, but it's rare in the NYT.

Second, the first two long answers seem to be related in a way that is thematic. Searching for similar connections in the other two clues yields nothing further.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 by Joel D. Lafargue
Mr. Lafargue is an experienced constructor with 53 NYT crosswords dating back to 1982. This is only his second puzzle for Will Shortz.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014 by Paul Hunsberger
The constraints here are huge — 33 different squares have letters that are part of 3 different words.
Thursday, December 4, 2014 by Kacey Walker and David Quarfoot
Amazing construction and an awesome achievement.
Sunday, November 30, 2014 — ZAP! by Matt Ginsberg
NYT puzzles often reference Apple products so it's nice to see two Microsoft Office clues today — 76A and 99A.
Saturday, November 29, 2014 by Elizabeth C. Gorski
Friday, November 21, 2014 by Kevin Christian
Actual errors in NYT crosswords are extremely rare but this puzzle has one. The clue at 20 Across reads: [Playwright who wrote "What is originality? Undetected plagiarism"].

The answer was INGE, as in William Inge. But it wasn't the playwright William Inge who was responsible for the quote. It was the Anglican clergyman and author William Inge, better known as "Dean Inge," who said it. So the word "Playwright" in the clue is wrong.

I like the Across and Down comic for this one.
Sunday, November 9, 2014 — COLORFUL CHARACTERS by Tom McCoy
I liked this one even more than Jeff did. In fact, I named it my Puzzle of the Year for 2014.
Since I've been asked, the other two theme answers Jeff didn't cover are: REPEATEDLY is MANY times OVER, and BATTLEFIELD is PLACE divided by WAR.
Friday, October 31, 2014 by Mary Lou Guizzo and Jeff Chen
Shameless plug for the free radio play I Might Be Edgar Allan Poe.
Saturday, October 25, 2014 — A SIGN OF THE TIMES by Patrick Blindauer
I have highlighted the X's in all the contest puzzles. Each is in a numbered square: 20, 5 13, 16 21, 19, 6 21, 7 9 20. The corresponding letters in the alphabet spell TEMPUS FUGIT, Latin for "time flies".

Using puzzles as a recruiting tool has a long history. In 1941, the Daily Telegraph ran a crossword contest to find Nazi code breakers for Bletchley Park. Google ran its famous billboard contests in 2004.

Friday, October 24, 2014 — A SIGN OF THE TIMES by Patrick Blindauer
Patrick Berry also hit for the cycle only because of his six-day meta contest back in 2011. They're still his only Monday and Tuesday NYT crosswords.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014 by Mary Lou Guizzo and Jeff Chen
I like the Across and Down comic for this puzzle.
Body parts are symmetric in grid. cf. this 2006 puzzle by Patrick Blindauer.
Friday, September 12, 2014 by Michael Wiesenberg
Mr. Wiesenberg's first two NYT puzzles have an identical grid shape.
Sunday, September 7, 2014 — ALL-ENCOMPASSING by Tracy Gray and Jeff Chen
This is the third NYT crossword with cardinal points in unchecked squares. Patrick Merrell did it in 2002 with N W E S near the center, and then in 2009, Joe Krozel put his points around the outside edge. See this Frank Longo puzzle from 1997 for a different approach to compass crosswords.
Thursday, August 21, 2014 by Jules P. Markey
For me, AMERE is saved by an outstanding clue. Bravo!
Friday, August 8, 2014 by Bruce Haight
Martin Ashwood-Smith took issue with calling this grid asymmetric. He sees it as a new kind of symmetry that superimposes diagonal symmetry on the normal rotational kind. The suggested name for this: Goldfish Symmetry.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014 by Brendan Emmett Quigley
In this puzzle by BQ we change B to Q. Probably just coincidence.
Friday, August 1, 2014 by Ashton Anderson and James Mulhern
Here's the famous Van Gogh at 42 Across from Musée d'Orsay.
Thursday, July 24, 2014 by David Phillips
from Shakespeare in Love:
Philip Henslowe: Mr. Fennyman, allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.
Hugh Fennyman: So what do we do?
Henslowe: Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.
Fennyman: How?
Henslowe: I don't know. It's a mystery.
Saturday, July 5, 2014 by David Steinberg
This is Mr. Steinberg's third 62-worder in the past year including one in May with a similar shape. On the other hand, he had an 80-word grid in February.
Sunday, June 22, 2014 — DIME STORE by Elizabeth C. Gorski
Elizabeth Gorski's comments are always great and if you sign up at Crossword Nation you get her puzzles and her stories every week. Ravishly recently interviewed Ms. Gorski in their Ladies we Love section. And yes we do!
Saturday, June 14, 2014 by Alex Vratsanos
The cycle in only eight! Congrats.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 by Ian Livengood
I'm not sure who celebrates Flag Day other than constructors but it has inspired some awesome puzzles. The year before Francis Heaney made us construct our own flags, Alex Boisvert had us color R words red and circles blue with this result.
A WALK-OFF HOMER is a home run hit by the home team in the bottom of the ninth or later inning that gives them the lead. The home team gets to walk off the field without finishing the inning. The visiting team walks off in shame and disappointment. Everyone gets to walk off except the batter who still has to run around the bases, probably doffing his hat to the adoring home-town fans who now get to walk off to their homes.
Friday, June 6, 2014 by Kameron Austin Collins
The "London Trilogy" at 16-Across begins with Money: A Suicide Note, an excellent introduction to MARTIN AMIS if you're not already a fan.
Saturday, May 24, 2014 by Peter Wentz
Mr. Wentz is, by far, the scrabbliest NYT constructor.
Friday, May 23, 2014 by David Steinberg
The grid shape resembles a Z. Does that mean this puzzle has a theme?
Saturday, May 17, 2014 by Brad Wilber
The largest painting in the Louvre (32-A) is The Wedding at Cana.
Sunday, May 4, 2014 — JOINED SIDES by Mary Lou Guizzo
2013 was a step up from the previous year when there were only seven Sundays by women.
Saturday, May 3, 2014 by Sam Ezersky
Six Beatles songs: "Ain't SHE Sweet" (1961), "I Want You (SHE's So Heavy)" (1969), "SHE Came in Through the Bathroom Window" (1969), "SHE Loves You" (1963), "SHE Said SHE Said" (1966), "SHE's a Woman" (1964).
Friday, May 2, 2014 by Brendan Emmett Quigley
Statistician Nate Silver of FIVETHIRTYEIGHT.com famously predicted 49 of 50 states in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, and then 50 of 50 in 2012. The blog name comes from the number of electors in the U.S. electoral college.
Surprisingly, this is not the longest known NYT sabbatical. Jeffrey Wechsler went 40 years between this 1969 puzzle and this one in 2009.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 by David J. Kahn
Monday, April 7, 2014 by Douglas Taillon
Even though the 2 is formed out of blocks, the grid still has normal crossword symmetry. Almost exactly ten years ago, Patrick Merrell used circles.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 by Andrew Reynolds
The 13 multi-answer clues is a Schrödinger record. April 1 is a special day. See all the April Fools puzzles. I list some favorites here.
Monday, March 31, 2014 by Robert Cirillo
For some reason I'm reminded of this Grant Wood painting I see every time I visit the Art Institute of Chicago.
Friday, March 28, 2014 by David J. Kahn
Besides his iconic mobiles, Alexander Calder also created the beloved Eagle in Seattle's lovely Olympic Sculpture Park. Here's a sunset view.
Thursday, March 27, 2014 by Jean O'Conor
Jeff asks why 2 π R instead of π D. One reason is it makes the math easier when dealing with circles and spheres. Note that if you differentiate the area of a circle, π R2, you get the circumference, 2 π R. Integrate and quadruple to get the volume of a sphere, 4/3 π R3.

Or, there might be one other reason. π D is too short for a crossword answer. :)

Thursday, March 20, 2014 by Victor Barocas
80 words? You'd think that by looking at the grid but it depends how you count. There are 76 sets of clues and answers. Some bend.
Thursday, March 13, 2014 by Alex Vratsanos
"I'm walking here! I'm walking here!" Midnight Cowboy is the only Best Picture in Academy Award history to be RATED X.
The ACPT ended this past weekend. Mr. Rosen famously co-wrote this homage to a former champion.
Friday, February 28, 2014 by Martin Ashwood-Smith
"Carlito's way" is an awesome clue for VIA.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 by Matthew E. Paronto and Jeff Chen
A more extreme example of this kind of reverse crosswordese can be found in this 2009 puzzle by Arthur Schulman where the theme clues were "Ais", "Ocas", "Moas", "Eri", "Ara", and "Ers".
Sunday, February 9, 2014 — IT WAS 50 YEARS AGO TODAY by Charles M. Deber
Grid numbers correspond to the Across Lite version of this grid. The printed puzzle was slightly different.
A related instrument complete with tuning pegs was cleverly revealed in this 2010 Diagramless by Michael Shteyman.
Saturday, February 8, 2014 by Doug Peterson and Brad Wilber
Tuesday, February 4, 2014 by David Steinberg
Thursday, January 23, 2014 by Michael Hawkins
Clue numbers here correspond to the print version of the puzzle. Note that numbers 23, 39 and 56 are absent from the grid in the print version and solvers have to figure out where to put them. Across Lite cannot number grids like this correctly so most electronic versions have different numbering and somewhat different clues, unfortunately giving away some of the aha moment.

This isn't the first crossword where clues reference numbers that don't appear in the grid.

"Black-and-white horse?" at 11D is the best clue ever for MRED.

Friday, January 17, 2014 by Kevin G. Der
The print edition of the NYT ran a different puzzle on this day. This is the one that was distributed electronically and was also supposed to be in the paper.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014 by Bernice Gordon
AP has a nice video about Ms. Gordon, her birthday, and her work.
Jimmy WEBB at 62 Down wrote an amazing number of hit songs.
That SERIES at 33 Across is, of course, the famous Fibonnaci sequence. Oh, and that GOOSES at 28 Across is from the same constructor who famously gave us this controversial answer in 2012.
Yes, this is the first puzzle in our database with a one-letter answer. A couple of puzzles have two-letter answers: this 2008 icing-around-the-outside grid by Joe Krozel has eight of them, Patrick Merrell's famous Mistakes puzzle from 2004 has two, and Henry Hook's puzzle from the same year has one.
Sunday, December 22, 2013 — GOOD ONE! by Elizabeth C. Gorski
The title is brilliant. I named Ms. Gorski my Constructor of the Year for 2013.
Saturday, December 21, 2013 by Todd Gross and David Steinberg
Yes, our solver also works with shaded squares.

Here's a nice article by Merl Reagle on the 100th birthday.

Thursday, December 19, 2013 by George Barany and Michael Shteyman
This is the first NYT daily crossword to use heavy bars to separate answer words. Across Lite can't handle this so most other solving software uses circled squares with combined and renumbered clues. Just to prove it can be done better, XWord Info has created a special HTML 5 solving experience that duplicates the intended effect.
Sunday, December 15, 2013 — A CUT ABOVE THE REST by Jeff Chen
This is the 17th Shortz-era grid with repeated answer words. Manny Nowsowsky and Jeff Chen have two each. Compare with this April Fool's puzzle from 2000 where Mr. Nosowsky teased out 12 different definitions for TTT...
Sunday, November 10, 2013 — BYE-LINES by Alan Olschwang
Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.
Puzzles with blanks in the solution are very rare. The only Shortz-era precedent is this 2006 puzzle by Pete Muller. Charles Deber had a similar idea exactly 25 years ago in this 1988 crossword edited by Eugene Maleska.

I named this my puzzle of the year for 2013.
This puzzle blows away the old record for most Ms. There are 25 of them.
Sunday, September 1, 2013 — PERSONS OF NOTE by John Farmer
Here are the people in question.
Sunday, August 25, 2013 — CAPITAL L'S by Victor Barocas
At first, it seems like the Across theme answers are unclued. Nothing corresponds to TOPEKA, DENVER, JUNEAU, BOSTON, AUSTIN, ALBANY, HELENA or PIERRE. But then, did you notice the puzzle's title?

"Putting out on an anniversary, maybe" at 47 Across is an outstanding clue.

Saturday, August 24, 2013 by Frederick J. Healy
Jeff is right that modern fill is often much cleaner but, for me, the value of the Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project is that it demonstrates how much creativity and downright cleverness existed from the earliest NYT crosswords. Many of the gimmicks we consider to be modern actually have a long history. Every era builds on the pioneers who came before but constructor ingeniousness, humor and imagination have always been there.
This is Sarah Keller's 50th NYT crossword.
Monday, August 12, 2013 by Daniel Raymon
This puzzle sets a new record for most I's in a 15x grid.
Thursday, August 1, 2013 by Timothy Polin
PRESSURE=FORCE/AREA, SPEED=DISTANCE/TIME, DENSITY=MASS/VOLUME
Thursday, July 18, 2013 by Todd Gross and David Steinberg
Number 23 in the grid is shifted one square to the right. Apostrophes have been used before.
Sunday, July 14, 2013 — SHOW ME THE MONEY by Daniel A. Finan
The highlighted squares must be read S or C in one direction and I in the other. When those letters overlap, they create symbols for $ and ¢.
Sunday, July 7, 2013 — BONUS FEATURES by Joel Fagliano
"But wait, there's more!" Ten theme answers turn a corner to add MORE.
Sunday, June 30, 2013 — MATCHING WITS by Alex Vratsanos and Jeff Chen
Vertical theme answers are each two words starting with M and W. Blocks form an M at the top of the grid and a W at the bottom.
This puzzle breaks the NYT record for the lowest word count. The previous record set in 2005 by Frank Longo used only 38 blocks.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 by David Steinberg (16) and Bernice Gordon (99)
Yes, it's true. Bernice Gordon is 99 years old and David Steinberg is 16, a difference of 83 years. Ms. Gordon is a veteran constructor — her first Sunday puzzle was published on January 23, 1955 — but perhaps her most amazing accomplishment is that she's had an NYT crossword byline every year from 2009 on. This is her first collaboration.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has a great article about the creation of this puzzle.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 by Richard F. Mausser
This puzzle is kind of the inverse of this one.
Sunday, June 16, 2013 — QUESTION BOX by Mel Rosen
Answers in the central 5x5 box can be arranged in two ways. The circled letters are the same in either case.
Sunday, June 9, 2013 — FAST ONE by Elizabeth C. Gorski
Ms. Gorski is the inventor and still the master of this ingenious connect-the-dots puzzle form. Is that an eye or maybe even a blinder on the horse? And reins?
Thursday, June 6, 2013 by James Tuttle
Five theme answers have a FALLING OUT.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013 by Kristian House
Five snakes snake through the shaded squares.
Sunday, June 2, 2013 — STIR CRAZY by Elizabeth C. Gorski
Those colored squares mix BLUE across with RED down to get THE COLOR PURPLE.
17-, 23-, 37- and 51-Across not only have to be read EAST TO WEST, they each start with E and end with W. Or is it the other way around?
Friday, May 24, 2013 by Joe Krozel
The twelve 15-letter answers (six Across and six Down) and the 44 three-letter ones both tie the record set by David Levinson Wilk back in 2009. In fact, the shapes of the two grids are identical.

Interestingly, there are two other NYT grids with the same 29 blocks, 72 words, 68 open squares, and an average word length of 5.44, and they're both by Paula Gamache. Her beautiful grids in 2010 and 2011 only have eight 15s but they're also evenly split four Across and four Down.

All four of these grids have the rare property of super symmetry, that is, they are symmetric about horizontal, vertical, and diagonal axes
Thursday, May 23, 2013 by David Levinson Wilk
This puzzle has a cleverly disorienting use of circles that I've never seen before. The letters in the circles themselves have no special meaning. It's only their positions relative to the squares above them that matter.
Speed solvers probably dislike Ms because they take longer to write. This grid has 16 Ms, breaking the record for most Ms in a standard puzzle. Don't be surprised if your hand is getting sore. The puzzle just three days ago had 15 Ms.
Friday, May 17, 2013 by Josh Knapp
This grid ties the record for most Ms in a 15x grid.
Thursday, May 16, 2013 by Brendan Emmett Quigley and Elizabeth Donovan
This is similar in concept to a 2005 puzzle by Courtenay Crocker III where the key phrase was MAN IN OUTER SPACE. A few other puzzles required scribbling beyond the lines. Here's one from 2006 that asked you to think outside the box and more recently, there was this outsiders puzzle from 2012. For a rather different but equally clever MAN rebus, see this 2003 crossword by Dan Reichert.
Saturday, May 11, 2013 by Matt Ginsberg
The print puzzle has "*taking into account its 61-Across" in italics after the clue list, referring to 4 clues with asterisks. For online, that phrase was added to the clues themselves.
Friday, May 10, 2013 by Derek Bowman
I recently teased Martin Ashwood-Smith that one way to avoid overused words in his stacks of 15s would be to stack 16s instead. Derek Bowman beat him to the punch. This is the first time 16s have been stacked in any NYT crossword.
The print version of this puzzle has lines (representing chemical bonds) connecting the H-O-H squares instead of circles. See the PDF.
Monday, May 6, 2013 by Joel Fagliano
Five theme answers (three of them Across and two Down) start with the words A, E, I, O and U.
I've highlighted the meandering theme answers with the range of ALPs so you can see how nicely symmetric everything is.
I've highlighted the wraparound sunglasses. Each breaks on a different letter.
Mr. Cee has a similar theme published later outlining a football rather than baseball play.
Sunday, March 31, 2013 — SPECIAL FEATURES by Caleb Madison
The special squares added to the feature films have been dyed blue so you can see what they spell.
Thursday, March 28, 2013 by Randolph Ross
This puzzle crosses its only two grid-spanning answers at a rebus entry in the center square.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 by Samuel A. Donaldson and Doug Peterson
The NYT published this correction on March 28: "The crossword puzzle on Tuesday provided an erroneous clue for 26-Across, seeking the answer 'Gee whiz.' The clue should have read, 'Wow, you're a regular expert at turning right!' not 'Wow, you're a regular expert at turning left!'" I have corrected it below.
STIR FRIES to finish each theme answer.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013 by Raymond C. Young
This is the first crossword to squeeze a quadruple-pangram into a standard 15x15 grid. Peter Wentz included four of each letter in 2010 but needed 16 columns. Click the Analyze button below and marvel at the letter distribution.
Joe Krozel has made a habit of pushing the envelope. This grid has a mere 18 blocks. As of this puzzle, there have been nine NYT crosswords in history with 19 or fewer blocks. Mr. Krozel constructed seven of them.
Sunday, March 10, 2013 — CONDENSATION by Finn Vigeland
Rebus squares are read WATER across and HHO (i.e., H2O) down.
Saturday, March 9, 2013 by David Steinberg and Barry C. Silk
With this, only his 9th NYT crossword, Mr. Steinberg has now hit for the cycle (he has a puzzle published on each day of the week.)
The Across answers below include the missing PROs and CONs.
Sunday, February 24, 2013 — I SURRENDER! by Joe DiPietro
"Back down" answers are read backwards to the beginning and then down from there.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013 by Barry Franklin and Sara Kaplan
Sound out the first syllable of each of the six(!) long theme answers.
Sunday, February 17, 2013 — MARK MY WORDS by Ian Livengood and J.A.S.A. Crossword Class
Compare with this 1998 grid by Robert H. Wolfe. It even has the same central answer, only running vertically. The puzzle here differs in that, for the Down answers, the punctuation marks must be spelled out.

FROST/NIXON was the answer to one of my favorite recent clues: Slashed picture of 2008?
Saturday, January 19, 2013 by David Quarfoot
This is the 7,000th daily crossword Will Shortz has edited for The New York Times. Adding the weekly Variety puzzle puts his lifetime NYT total at 8,000. Congratulations, Will!
This grid is notable for several reasons. Most remarkably, it's the first to stack five 15-letter answer words. That's an amazing accomplishment few believed possible. The grid is asymmetric. Notice the additional 15 in the top half but none in the bottom half. (I've long held that strict adherence to symmetry limits interesting grid and theme possibilities. Would a quintuple-stack be possible if symmetry were required? Do you care?) And finally, this is the first puzzle dropping HORSE MANURE into the grid.
It's interesting to compare this with Mr. Schoenholz's previous rebus.
Sunday, December 23, 2012 — BYWORDS by Joe DiPietro
Side-by-side circled words combine with "by" to form new phrases like KNEW by HEART.
This original grid has four "rebus" squares containing IO. Each crosses a short and a long answer. The short answers fit the clues with either I or O. (I arbitrarily chose to use I in the answers below but you can see that either satisfies the clue.) The long answers use both I and O in that order. So, 14 Across can be either WRITE or WROTE, and 3 Down is SING-SONG VOICE.

DING DONG DITCH at 34 Down is a game where you ring someone's doorbell and run away. It's a favorite each year at the ACPT.
We last saw this theme nine years ago. It's interesting to compare the clues.
x + y = 16 and x - y = 4, so substituting...
x = 4 + y
y + (4 + y) = 16
y + y = 16 - 4
2y = 12, so y = 6
x + 6 = 16, so x = 10
Sunday, November 25, 2012 — A LITTLE EXTRA by Jeff Chen
The giant X in the middle of the grid forms part of the 14 highlighted answers.
The six És with acute accents work both Across and Down. Patrick Merrell did something similar with Ñs.
Thursday, November 1, 2012 by George Barany and Victor Barocas
Per 73 Across, CC is BLIND (hidden behind blocks) in theme answers.
Sunday, October 21, 2012 — BYPASSING SECURITY by Caleb Rasmussen
Thursday, October 4, 2012 by Bill Thompson
The four special squares are read as SUN on the way Across, but are eclipsed by MOON on the way down. This solar eclipse crossword is a nice complement to Kevin G. Der's 2010 lunar eclipse puzzle.
Peter Abide used this same clever theme 11 years ago, even including FROFFTONICE. His other theme entries were OFFSIDEKICKON and one I especially liked, "A Star is Born" co-star KRISTONERSOFF. Elizabeth C. Gorski had a related notion in a 2006 puzzle called Light Thinking.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012 by Peter A. Collins
The circles trace a football shape with laces tied up in the middle.
The monstrous NESSIE pops her head out the top of this grid, joining PUNXSUTAWNEY PHIL and the infamous HANGING CHAD as breakout answers. The PDF with slightly different grid numbering looks like this.
Friday, September 14, 2012 by Peter A. Collins
In this rare themed Friday, you can find the four BEATLES in the corners.
Not only is the grid shaped like a big 8, EIGHT-TRACK TAPES, OCTAGONAL, and SPIDER SOLITAIRE all invoke eightness.
The Yiddish answers are, appropriately, read right to left.
Thursday, August 2, 2012 by Xan Vongsathorn
Duck Duck Goose is a children's game.
Friday, July 27, 2012 by Joe Krozel
This grid, with only 17 blocks, holds the most famous record in crosswords.
Thursday, July 26, 2012 by Joel Fagliano
Rebus square are read as double-U going Across and as W going Down.
Thursday, July 19, 2012 by Alan Arbesfeld
Theme answers must be interpreted literally. So, for example, ARETE is RET inside AE, EAGLE is L inside EAGE, SCOURING is CO inside SURING, etc.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012 by Chris A. McGlothlin
Not only are the crossing theme answers symmetric, the Down part precedes the Across part in each case, from THEN & THERE to FAST & LOOSE.
Thursday, July 5, 2012 by Ian Livengood
For squares with two answers inside, use the digit for the down clues and the SHIFT-KEY keyboard equivalent of that digit for the Acrosses. So, SASQU[AT]CH, EX[POUND]ING, SAND[DOLLAR], [PERCENT]AGES and [CARET]AKERS.
Monday, July 2, 2012 by Bernice Gordon
Bernice Gordon was 38 when she had her first crossword published in the NYT. That's probably older than average. It was also 60 years ago, in 1952, and that's something to celebrate! Ms. Gordon constructed this one at age 98.
Thursday, June 28, 2012 by Elizabeth C. Gorski
Types of TIME FRAME the entire grid.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 by Mike Buckley
A set of five squares can be connected along their edges to form 12 unique shapes. You can see each of them here. This gimmick necessarily breaks some of the standard construction rules — symmetry is not possible and, because of the so-called U pentomino in the bottom left, there's an unchecked square. The 12 pentominoes can be interlocked to form rectangles of various sizes.
Sunday, June 24, 2012 — ELEMENT OF SURPRISE by Elizabeth C. Gorski
Connect the atomic symbols for Carbon to see the shape of a footprint.
Thursday, June 21, 2012 by Caleb Emmons
Include the clue number itself in the highlighted symmetric answers.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012 by Steve Riley
The only vowel in this grid is O. There are 69 of them, more than twice the previous record set in 1993.
Monday, June 18, 2012 by Peter A. Collins
The publication date is Paul McCartney's 70th birthday.
Turn right on RED to read the seven theme answers.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 by Peter A. Collins
The first letters of the Across clues spell out "The Robert Redford film A River Runs Through It."
Sunday, June 10, 2012 — GETTING AROUND by Xan Vongsathorn
This tricky theme confused many solvers. Look closely at the circles in the grid. TUBE and FASTBALL are inside circles. GIFT is wrapped by them. SELF is contained by them. PLANETS are ringed by them. ORGANS are internal to them. UP is bubbled inside. The especially nice coincidence is that the Nine-banded ARMADILLO gets nine bands because Armadillo has nine letters.
Monday, June 4, 2012 by John R. O'Brien
There's a story about today's constructor at thetimes-tribune.
Friday, June 1, 2012 by Joe Krozel
This puzzle tied the NYT record for the lowest word count. Mr. Krozel then broke that record in 2013.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 by David J. Kahn
Dick Clark died on April 18, six weeks before this tribute was published.
Sunday, May 27, 2012 — STATE QUARTERS by Byron Walden
States are divided into quarters with perfect symmetry. This grid breaks the previous record for most rebus entries.
Saturday, May 19, 2012 by Patrick Berry
This is the first grid in my database that includes every letter except the most common one — E. Three other puzzles are E-less: this one by David Kahn which uses only 10 letters, this one, also by Patrick Berry, where the only vowel is A, and this one by Gayle Dean which has no E's in either the answers or in the clues.
Friday, May 18, 2012 by Allan E. Parrish
A Friday puzzle with a theme! Long answers end with words that are anagrams of each other.
If you've been doing puzzles for a while, you might have guessed Mr. Krozel was the author from the grid shape alone. There are no 3-letter answers. Clues are numbered differently and rather more elegantly in the print version of this puzzle.
Thursday, May 10, 2012 by Jules P. Markey
Cleverly disguised as a typical word-that-can-precede puzzle, this crossword has an extra gimmick. Down answers must JUMP over the circled letters to make sense.
Thursday, May 3, 2012 by Neville Fogarty
A similiarly themed puzzle from 2008 also included both MILLENIUM and PERSEVERENCE. The correct spellings are: genealogy, perseverance, questionnaire, millennium, occasion and, uh, one other... Oh yeah, and misspelled.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012 by Paula Gamache
The CROSS answers have lovely symmetry so I've highlighted them.
Sunday, April 29, 2012 — INFRACTIONS by Tracy Gray
I've highlighted the numerical components of the various in-fractions. Do the division to get the answer. So, for example, "like grandchildren" is 1/3 GENERATION or THIRD GENERATION and "high-end retail chain" is SAKS 1/5 AVENUE for SAKS FIFTH AVENUE. At 33-Across, "execute in a way" is not DRAW AND FOURTH. You have to go with the grislier interpretation of "execute." The answer is DRAW AND QUARTER. Clever puzzle!
Monday, April 23, 2012 by Michael David
As explained at 35-Across, the three long vertical answers have OUTSIDERS, read as OUTSIDE Rs. There is an R missing from the top and bottom of each so you have to draw them outside the grid. Read about the constructor at delawareonline.
Sunday, April 15, 2012 — GRID IRON by Kevin G. Der
I've highlighted the "reflection" squares. They spell out SHIP OF DREAMS. This titanic puzzle stretches several conventions. It's the first Shortz-era grid with up-down mirror symmetry. It is by far the widest. It's even bigger than Kevin's previous huge rectangle. It's not a size record, though, falling nearly 100 squares short of the seven 25x25 Millennium puzzles from 1999. (Here's one.)

I claim this is the world's first cubist crossword. There's the profile view of the ship and its reflection you have to draw yourself and, just maybe, if you squint at the arrangement of black squares, a top view of a ship sailing west. Do you see it? Also, GRID IRON is a great title for a puzzle that looks like a football field but isn't. The constructor tells the story of how he made this puzzle here on Quora.
Sunday, April 8, 2012 — IN-NUENDOS by Daniel A. Finan
Theme explanation: circled letters denote words IN-side the longer answers. So, "1997 Will Smith/Tommy Lee Jones flick" is MEN in BLACK (African American,) "Preventive measure, proverbially" is STITCH in TIME (it's told using a watch,) "Headstone phrase" is REST in PEACE (treaty result,) "Lurid 1979 film about John Dillinger's girlfriend" is The LADY in RED (color for Valentine's Day,) "To be on the safe side ..." is JUST in CASE (judge's matter,) "Golf ace" is HOLE in ONE (the loneliest number,) and "One who looks friendly but isn't" is WOLF in SHEEP'S CLOTHING (wool, facetiously.)
Monday, April 2, 2012 by Lynn Lempel
I like to think of this PLAY BALL theme as describing an inside-the-park home run. Following the ends of the theme answers in order, the batter starts with a SWING, and manages to HIT the ball. Then he starts to RUN. Finally he executes a successful SLIDE which must be into home plate because his team chalks up a SCORE.
Friday, March 2, 2012 by Scott Atkinson
As noted at 63 Across, the black squares are arranged NONCONTIGUOUSLY. See also this grid by Patrick Merrell.
Sunday, February 26, 2012 — BACK TO THE START by Daniel A. Finan
Theme answers go back to the start. Append the first three letters to the end for the answers to make sense.
AROUND must be added to the answers around the outside edge for the clues to make sense.
Sunday, February 19, 2012 — CORE O' NATIONS by James F. C. Burns
I have shaded in the Nations at the Core of each theme answer.
I've highlighted them.
Ms. Lempel is stirring up controversy yet again, bless her cheeky soul. Is MID-ASS TOUCH at 25 Across cute, clever, or offensive? The New Yorker weighs in.
Sunday, February 5, 2012 — STATE ANNEXATION by Charles M. Deber
This puzzle has a wonderfully creative angle I've never seen before. State abbreviations are added to certain answers to provide information for other clues.

So, for example, at 6-Across, "Posed (for)" is SAT. Then, at 33-Down, we see "6-Across near Indianapolis?" Add IN (the abbreviation for Indiana) to SAT to get SATIN, making the answer for 33-Down SMOOTH FABRIC.

Correction: Errors in NYT puzzles are extremely rare but this crossword has one. The clue for 30 Across reads "New Jersey town bordering Rahway" and the answer is ISELIN. It turns out they're very close together but they don't actually touch. You can see for yourself in these closeup maps of Iselin and Rahway.
Monday, January 30, 2012 by Francesco Trogu
Today's constructor is 16 years old. He joins the list of other constructors who debuted as teens. Check out Mr. Trogu's blog to learn more about him and listen to him play some Chopin, Debussy and Bach at the Steinway.
Thursday, January 5, 2012 by Dan Schmiedeler
This Three Musketeers theme "all for one, one for all" tripped up many solvers. It means that each occurrence of ONE is replaced with ALL and vice versa. Apparently the Kansas City Star staff was so confused they published an apology for some of the clues being "switched."
Mr. Krozel made two versions of this puzzle. The companion triple-stack grid contains 3/4 of the same quad-stack plus black squares in all the same places. You can see the two grids together here.
Thursday, December 29, 2011 by David Steinberg
A Scrabble set has only one Z. It also has two blank tiles which could be Z or any other letter but PIZZAZZ has four Z's so it's impossible.
TOP is missing from the three answers at the top, BOTTOM from the bottom, and SIDE from both sides. In addition, MIDDLE is missing from three answers in the center row.
Sunday, November 27, 2011 — YIN/YANG by Jeff Chen
This beautiful design gets added to my Grid Art page.
Sunday, November 20, 2011 — FIGURE IT OUT by Trip Payne
Reading the associated letters in numerical order reveals the answer NWODTNUOC. Hmmm.
Many solvers complained about 44 Down claiming the "Dir. from Gramercy Park to Central Park" should be NNW not NNE. Indeed, many maps seem to show just that. As usual, the crossword turns out to be correct. Manhattan maps often artificially "straighten out" the island to appear more aligned to true north. This maps shows the correct orientation. Gramercy Park is marked with a pushpin. Central Park is up and, yes, to the right.
Friday, November 11, 2011 by Alex Vratsanos
This grid underwent significant changes during the editing process. Mr. Vratsanos was kind enough to allow me to post the original submission so you can see the changes. Very interesting. Even the grid shape changed.
Sunday, November 6, 2011 — BAKER'S DOZEN by Elizabeth C. Gorski
I have highlighted the 12 "upside down" cakes.
I have filled in the circles on all six puzzles. Note the "pips" on each side of the die are correctly located. Wordplay interviewed Will Shortz and Patrick Berry. I named this set my puzzle of the year for 2011.
Friday, October 21, 2011 by Patrick Berry
Today's puzzle is available from The NYT only as a PDF but you can try this electronic version here. Several answers "cross over", wrapping around from right to left, or bottom to top.
Rebus squares are BLACK in one direction and WHITE in the other. The top entry corresponds to the Across answer.
Monday, October 17, 2011 by Patrick Berry
This is the 146th puzzle Mr. Berry has created for the NYT, and his first ever Monday. Tomorrow he will hit for the cycle with his first ever Tuesday puzzle.
Sunday, October 16, 2011 — GETTING IN SHAPE by Joel Fagliano
The shapes form OVAL OFFICE, SQUARE INCH, DIAMOND NECKLACE, ARTIFICIAL HEART, LOVE TRIANGLE, and ARCTIC CIRCLE.
Monday, October 10, 2011 by Ian C. Livengood
The 20 C's in this grid is a record.
Friday, October 7, 2011 by Kevin G. Der
In this Quora answer, Kevin Der explains how today's tribute puzzle was put together within hours of the announcement of the death of Steve Jobs.
Mr. Feyer is the reigning American Crossword Puzzle Tournament champion.
Sunday, October 2, 2011 — MASQUERADE by Eric Berlin
The ten celebrities are RAY CHARLES, GREG NORMAN, BOB DYLAN, ANNE RICE, ELI MANNING, ALEX TREBEK, JOE TORRE, LOU RAWLS, DON CHEADLE, and TINA LOUISE. Quite a party!
Tuesday, September 27, 2011 by Peter A. Collins
In an unusual feat of construction, today's theme-revealer at 34-Down intersects three of the themed entries.
It's interesting to compare how this theme was handled when the day in question fell on a "themeless" Friday in 2008.
This is the 15th Shortz-era puzzle with repeated answer words, and its SPY vs SPY gimmick is one of my favorites. Here's the complete list.
Sunday, September 11, 2011 — CORNERED by Kay Anderson
Ten answers have to be read by going around a corner. So, for example, at 1 Across, "Nitty Gritty, as of negotiations" should be parsed as BRASSTACKS.
The 11 grid-spanning 15-letter answers here is just one short of the record set in this 2009 puzzle by David Levinson Wilk.
Sunday, September 4, 2011 — THAT'S DISGUSTING! by Dana Delany and Matt Ginsberg
In this unusual puzzle, rebus Across answers must be read twice. For example, 14 Across, "Deprecate", is POOH POOH. For a different take on this kind of theme, see the 1995 April Fools puzzle.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011 by Bernice Gordon
Bernice Gordon constructed this crossword at the age of 97. Her first NYT puzzle was published in 1952.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 by Michael Farabaugh
As of the publication date of this puzzle, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt still holds the world and Olympic records in the 100 and 200 metres, and with his teammates, the 4x100 metres relay.
Monday, August 22, 2011 by Milo Beckman
Sometimes crossword editors tweak a few clues or a few grid entries. Sometimes the grid undergoes substantial change. Usually, we never know, but Mr. Beckman posted his original submission so you can see the dramatic changes in this one yourself. Note the two additional theme entries in the top and bottom rows.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011 by David Steinberg
The shaded HIDDEN TEXT is a list of abbreviations commonly used in text messages. They stand for On The Other Hand, In My Humble Opinion, Rolling On the Floor Laughing, and Talk To Ya Later.
In this zero-based puzzle, OOO is in the top right, and ZIP is opposite. The most frequent letter in the grid is O. There are 24 of them.
Wordplay has the remarkable story of this constructor and this puzzle.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011 by Elizabeth C. Gorski
In an Atlantic article titled "How Will Shortz Edits a New York Times Crossword Puzzle," this puzzle is used as the example.
Thursday, August 4, 2011 by David J. Kahn
Various puzzles over the years have offered justifications for skipping over blocks. Here's one from 2003 and this one's an interesting variation from 2006.

Note that in each theme answer here, each three-block "bar" divides a type of bar. We hop over a singles' bar, piano bar, space bar, candy bar, and salad bar.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011 by Paul Guttormsson
Let's call these 51 Ts the official record for most in a 15x puzzle, although Manny Nosowsky used an artificial April Fool's gimmick in 2000 to squeeze in 54.

Note that every answer here contains a T and every clue begins with T.
Monday, August 1, 2011 by Joel Fagliano
A work (of ART) progresses through all the 10-letter Across entries starting at the far left and inching over to the far right.
Thursday, July 28, 2011 by Alan Arbesfeld
In this UP rebus with a twist, Down answers that include UP must be read upwards. For example, 3 Down, "Prince's partner," is PAUPER.
Thursday, July 14, 2011 by Brendan Emmett Quigley and Ian Livengood
This seems to be a homage to one of my favorite crosswords by the great Manny Nosowsky. Mr. Quigley and Mr. Livengood do the master one better by including the parallel Ps to the left of the diagonal.
Thursday, July 7, 2011 by Caleb Rasmussen
Each time an answer goes through one of the six U's in the grid, it takes a right-angle turn. (That's a turn at the U, not a literal 180° U-turn.) So, for example, 18-Across, "Disagreeably direct" is BRUTAL, and 10 Down, "Transmitter, of sorts" is NEURON. It's a nice companion to this puzzle from a couple of months earlier. See all the nonlinear puzzles here.
Sunday, July 3, 2011 — MY TREAT by Pete Muller
The circled letters can be arranged to spell DINER. Click the graphic for a larger view.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 by Kelsey Boes
With this puzzle, 18-year-old Kelsey Boes became the youngest female constructor in the Shortz Era, and probably in NYT crossword history.
Thursday, June 16, 2011 by David Steinberg
Using H is S (HISS), M is O (MISO), L is P (LISP), etc., 39-Across represents SPOT THE CODE. Compare to this 2005 puzzle by Patrick Blindauer: Across Lite, Solution, and this one from 2001 by William I. Johnston: Across Lite, Solution.

Mr. Steinberg is 14 years old and just graduated from 8th grade at Lakeside School in Seattle, making him the second youngest constructor of the Shortz Era.
Monday, June 13, 2011 by Alex Vratsanos
Mr. Vratsanos set a goal for himself to have a published puzzle before he finished high school. Today's debut appears on the date of his graduation.
Sunday, May 29, 2011 — YOU'LL GET THROUGH THIS by Jeremy Newton and Tony Orbach
Following the doors from room to room, the circles spell out the EMERSON quote, "EVERY WALL IS A DOOR." Patrick Merrell created this nice graphic.
Thursday, May 26, 2011 by Ashish Vengsarkar
In this chromosomal puzzle, XY is read as HIS, and XX as HERS.
Monday, May 16, 2011 by Ian Livengood
This puzzle has a remarkably high number of theme entries — nine, including the explanation at 63 Across.
Friday, May 13, 2011 by Joe Krozel
The print version of this puzzle is slightly different. Appropriately, there is no square numbered 13. Note the puzzle title is Fri, May ___, 2011.
It's unusual to have a science or math theme in an NYT puzzle, particularly one of this depth and complexity. The FIBONACCI SERIES F(n) starts 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144,… Each number is the sum of the two preceding ones. The ratio of successive numbers in the series approaches the GOLDEN RATIO (an irrational number approx 1.618) as n approaches infinity. Like pi or e, it is a constant that pops up surprisingly often.

Artists have traditionally considered this relationship to be the most aesthetically pleasing. It is said to be observed in nature in, for example, the growth of nautilus chambers, and the patterns of artichoke leaves or sunflower seeds.
Thursday, May 5, 2011 by Joel Fagliano
The black squares across the middle spell "Jr" in this puzzle about Juniors.
This U-TURN puzzle probably has the record for appearing on the most special XWord Info pages. Five clumps of blocks are in the shape of a U qualifying it for the Grid Art page. The there-and-back palindromes make it a nonlinear puzzle. The 45 blocks are among the most ever. It has rare mirror symmetry. And, of course, it has unchecked letters. Compare to this NO U-TURN puzzle published a couple of months later.
Sunday, May 1, 2011 — LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE! by Xan Vongsathorn
There's nowhere to go but UP in this grid where each bottom-dwelling theme answer curls up at the end to get the final letter.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011 by Brendan Emmett Quigley
Mr. Quigley announced he was going to become a father via 17 Across.
The missing clues are all UMBRELLA. Spell that word by connecting the dots letter by letter to see the shape.
Friday, April 8, 2011 by Joe Krozel
In this cold-war themed puzzle, the black squares spell out 1961, the year the Berlin Wall was constructed.
The theme is DOUBLE HEADERS. Four theme answers consist of two words that can be made into new words by appending HEAD to each. So, "Thor, for one" is THUNDER GOD which becomes THUNDERHEAD and GODHEAD. Similarly with WARHEAD and BRIDESHEAD, STEELHEAD and DRUMHEAD, DEADHEAD and LETTERHEAD.
Sunday, April 3, 2011 — TRIPLE BONDS by Oliver Hill and Eliza Bagg
Puzzle solutions are intended to be unique (except in a few odd cases where they are intentionally ambiguous.) Unlike, say, sudoku, it's hard to prove that crossword solutions are singular. The puzzle here seems to be a case of an unintentionally non-unique grid. Dictionaries support two correct answers for 90A and 77D, as shown below.
This Saturday puzzle has a bit of a theme with two related long answers crossing at the center. You can read about the Cardiff Giant here and learn who really coined the famous sucker birth frequency stat.
Friday, April 1, 2011 by Elizabeth A. Long
Down answers in the right side of the grid are NORTHBOUND LANES, meaning they have to be read bottom-to-top. There have been some great April Fool's Day puzzles over the years. Here are some of my other favorites: 1997 (AcLite, Solution), 2000 (AcLite, Solution), 2002 (AcLite, Solution), 2004 (AcLite, Solution), 2006 (AcLite, Solution), 2010 (AcLite, Solution.)
Thursday, March 31, 2011 by Jeremy Horwitz and Tyler Hinman
Read the back story on this remarkable puzzle in this New York Times story.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 by Erik Wennstrom
This puzzle is a play on the scientific concept of "red shift" — a little red paint is mixed into some common phrases. So, WHITE WASHED becomes PINK WASHED, BLUE PRINT turns into PURPLE PRINT, and YELLOW FEVER becomes ORANGE FEVER.
Sunday, March 27, 2011 — GET READY TO ROLL by Kevin G. Der
In this bowling theme, a ball spins down the alley, avoiding the gutters, in an attempt to knock out the remaining pins split two per side.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011 by Jeremy Newton
Play the notes indicated in the circles and you'll plink out a familiar theme from the fourth movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
Sunday, March 13, 2011 — REVEREND SPOONER, U.S.P.S. by Patrick Berry
The NYT published this correction: The crossword on March 13 provided an erroneous clue for 93-Across, seeking the answer "Nausea." The clue should have read, "Sartre novel" — not "Novel for which Sartre declined the Nobel Prize." (The award he declined in 1964 was for his body of work, not for that particular novel.)
Thursday, March 10, 2011 by Matt Ginsberg
From Matt Ginsberg: "Oh, no! Will left out what was — in my opinion! — the most important part of this puzzle. There is supposed to be an asterisk in front of the clue for 36-Across. Think about it ..."
Wednesday, March 9, 2011 by Peter A. Collins
The Ts form a nice tail trailing off the end of the KITE.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011 by Paul Hunsberger
The 30 R's here was a record until David Steinberg smashed it in 2015.
Thursday, March 3, 2011 by David J. Kahn
This is the fourth NYT "Schrödinger" puzzle. See the others here.
Sunday, February 27, 2011 — V-2 by Peter A. Collins
This lovely grid has two unchecked squares but like most such puzzles, they're not really unchecked. 19 Vs is a lot. Peter Collins also shares the record for most Vs in a daily puzzle. If that were his first V puzzle, this would be his V-2.
In 2002, The New Yorker magazine ran this profile of today's constructor.
Sunday, February 20, 2011 — WUNDERBAR! by Elizabeth C. Gorski
Blacks squares in this grid are either isolated or clumped together in linear groups of three. Such groups, in each case, represent BAR, which completes each theme answer.
Thursday, January 13, 2011 by Elizabeth C. Gorski
Each of the first four theme answers goes over the LINE. The first of each pair ends with an anagram of LINE and the second begins with its margana (that same anagram reversed.)
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 by Sharon Delorme
Official NYT correction: The crossword puzzle on Tuesday provided an erroneous clue for 51-Across, seeking the answer "Grasshopper." The clue should have read, "Term of endearment used by Master Po for young Kwai Chang Caine in TV's 'Kung Fu' " — not "Term of endearment for the Karate Kid."
Monday, January 10, 2011 by James Tuttle
This puzzle cleverly takes advantage of the shape of the circles used to highlight special squares. Elizabeth C. Gorski did something similar in 2009. So did Michael Shteyman with this innovative 2010 diagramless crossword: PDF, solution.
This PDF file shows how the puzzle appeared in print where the theme is more elegantly displayed. Clue numbering in the print and electronic versions differ.

Seven long Across answers are made up of shorter words. 12 Across, "One in on the founding of a company", is CHAR+TERM+EMBER. Similarly, PLAN+TMAN+AGER, WIN+ETAS+TER, OPERA+TIN+GROOM, EAR+THAN+GEL, FORT+HERE+CORD, and NOTRE+SPAS+SING.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010 by Patrick Merrell
American crosswords traditionally ignore diacritical marks, even with foreign words, but this puzzle carefully handles both N and Ñ so the words are correct both Across and Down. In 2012, David J. Kahn did something similar with És.
Friday, December 24, 2010 by Jay Kaskel and Daniel Kantor
The Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune ran an article about these constructors and this puzzle.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 by Alan Arbesfeld
An L in five common phrases gets shifted three places to the left.
Sunday, December 19, 2010 — HOPE FOR CLEAR SKIES by Kevin G. Der
The graphic here is courtesy of Patrick Merrell who created it for his Wordplay post. Click it for a slightly larger view.
Sunday, December 5, 2010 — ON A ROLL by Ben Pall
Here's the PDF. There is an especially elegant aspect of this puzzle that shouldn't be missed. When every O inside the die shape is colored in, the spots on each side are properly oriented, but notice that the sides themselves are correctly aligned as well. So, for example, each pair of opposite sides adds up to seven, as they should.
Nine pairs of side-by-side seven-letter answers share common clues.
Monday, November 29, 2010 by Elizabeth A. Long
Unusual for a Monday, many people had trouble parsing this theme. The central theme answer is HEAD BAND. The HEAD (that is the front or the first word) of each long answer is the name of a BAND: Queen, Kiss, Traffic, and Cream.
Sunday, November 28, 2010 — A SHINING MOMENT by Jeremy Newton
Who says crossword construction isn't a risky business? Despite 3 Down and 5 Down and many years of a Wednesday tradition, the Tree Lighting Ceremony in 2010 was held on a Tuesday.

Here's a construction feat I never thought I'd see — a quadruple pangram. Every letter of the alphabet is used at least 4 times. Purists may note that with the grid stretching to 16 columns, there are more squares available to fit in those extra Scrabbly letters. True, but the central theme answer at 43 Across nicely justifies the extra width.

Update: Raymond C. Young managed this feat in a 15x15 grid in 2013.

This grid must be rotated 90° left or right, or turned upside down, to make sense of five of the answers.
Friday, November 5, 2010 by Mike Nothnagel
The previous day's puzzle, also by Mike Nothnagel, shows the locations of the holes. On today's grid, they spell out G O R L U F O N D which can be rearranged to form GOLF ROUND.
Thursday, November 4, 2010 by Mike Nothnagel
This was part one of a two-day puzzle contest. See the next day's crossword for details.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010 by Chris Handman
Wired Magazine did a blurb on this puzzle. The article includes a clip from The Colbert Report.
The 2x2 block near the center of this necessarily asymmetric 15x15 grid must be interpreted as BLOCK in eight theme answers.
This is another debut from a teenage constructor. Mr. Vigeland constructed this puzzle while a student at Horace Mann School in Bronx, NY (hence 58 Across.) At publication time, he was an 18-year-old freshman at Columbia University.

There are 15 M's tying the record for most in the Shortz era.
There is a rare error at 5 Across. "I'll never be hungry again" is Scarlett's last line before intermission but she has plenty more to say after the popcorn break.
This theme eluded me. The "and literally so" is key, here. As joon pahk explained on Wordplay, "STAY is literally "between the lines" MASON-DIXON and WHITESTAR, and READ is between the FREE-THROW line and a PRODUCTION line."
Tuesday, October 12, 2010 by José Chardiet
The answers to the 12 starred clues start with abbreviations for the months of the year, in order.
Thursday, October 7, 2010 by Patrick Blindauer
The answers on the side are all SIDE, making a six-sided HEXAGON. Each SIDE answer bends around a corner.
Monday, September 20, 2010 by Bernice Gordon
Bernice Gordon constructed this crossword at the age of 96. That sets a new record for oldest NYT constructor. The previous record holder? Bernice Gordon, last year, at a mere age 95. Her first NYT puzzle was in 1952.
Thursday, September 2, 2010 by Patrick Blindauer and Andrea Carla Michaels
Each across answer has to be entered into the grid backwards. Remarkably, all the across entries except for the three long ones are legitimate crossword answers in either direction.

The author Adam Langer blogged this puzzle for Wordplay.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 by Paula Gamache and Ed Stein
In this very clever construction, identical words cross five times, symmetrically distributed: ADDRESS, CONSOLE, EXPLOIT, INCENSE, and PRESENT. Each word is two syllables. In each case, the Across definition requires the first syllable to be accented, and the Down definition needs the second.
In this crossword, every answer and every clue contains at least one letter B. More than a quarter of all white squares contain a B. There are 48 in all.
Friday, August 13, 2010 by Manny Nosowsky
This is likely to be the last Manny Nosowsky puzzle we'll see in the NYT. Including his 8 pre-Shortz puzzle, his lifetime total is 254. Most are excellent. Many are great. It's quite a legacy.
This grid, with only 18 blocks, tied the most famous record in crosswords. Wordplay has constructor notes where Joe Krozel outlines some of his strategy. Note the unusual diagonal symmetry. Mr. Krozel broke this record on July 27, 2012.
Thursday, August 5, 2010 by Gary J. Whitehead
The circles contain state codes for the Midwest, arranged in correct geographic relationship.
Thursday, July 15, 2010 by Brendan Emmett Quigley and Patrick Blindauer
The print version of this puzzle was a normal 15x15 grid that mysteriously referred to the non-existent 66 Across. I've attached the secret answer below.
Thursday, July 8, 2010 by John Farmer
This puzzle is the antimatter counterpart of this ODD puzzle by David J. W. Simpson a few months earlier.
Thursday, July 1, 2010 by Clive Probert
A 2002 Manny Nosowsky puzzle had a similar theme. It repeated PAR. This puzzle repeats ONE.
Sunday, June 27, 2010 — TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE by Michael J. Doran
On July 14, 2010, Mike Doran's local paper, The Times Record, ran this interview with him.
Friday, June 25, 2010 by Robin Schulman and Byron Walden
Read the first letter of each Across clue to reveal a hidden message. Here's the wedding announcement in the NYT.
Three 18-letter theme answers snake across the grid, each taking a nose dive on the word NOSE.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010 by Alex Boisvert
Here's another example of a crossword with an unusual visual element that Across Lite can't reproduce. Hence, the convoluted notepad. The print version had no notes.
Sunday, June 13, 2010 — FLAG DAY by Francis Heaney
In this ingenious puzzle, we need to read the names of the colors for the Down answers as in a normal rebus, but the Across answers work differently. Consecutive color bars combine to form flags of six different countries. Substitute the associated country names for the blocks of colors, and it all makes sense. See Wordplay for the full story including an interview with the constructor.

In my year-end wrap up Notable Puzzles of 2010 on Wordplay, I named this crossword my Puzzle of the Year.
Sunday, June 6, 2010 — TYPECASTING by Daniel A. Finan
Some clues in the print version are written using non-standard font styles. Across Lite and other electronic versions replace those clues with descriptive text which makes the puzzle solvable but not as fun. This PDF shows how the puzzle appears in the magazine.

I have made the clues here conform to the print style whenever it was possible to do so in HTML. For example, some of the clues are in bold, italics, or strike-through text. The drop-shadow and gothic font clues can't reliably be reproduced in a way that works across browsers.

One of the goals of XPF is to provide a standardized way to specify font variations in crossword clues, although even the current version of XPF could not handle all the gimmicks in this puzzle.
Friday, May 28, 2010 by Joe Krozel
This intentionally asymmetric grid is intended to be an homage to this 1994 puzzle by Rand H. Burns. See Wordplay for details.
Sunday, May 16, 2010 — DOUBLE CROSSERS by Matt Ginsberg
This clever puzzle is available only as a PDF. (This Across Lite file sort of works.)
Thursday, April 29, 2010 by David J. W. Simpson
John Farmer responded a few months later with this EVEN puzzle.
Sunday, April 4, 2010 — AFTER WORD by Bob Klahn
The answer to the bonus question is BOARD.
Click the thumbnail to see a larger version of the 1944 Matisse painting Annelies, White Tulips and Anemones mentioned at 33 Down.
Thursday, March 18, 2010 by Daniel A. Finan
There are EIGHT NOTES that, when connected in order, form a pair of EIGHTH NOTES. Also, every clue starts with a solfège name: Do, Re, Mi, etc.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010 by Patrick Merrell
The old ST/PA trick replaces PA in common phrases with ST.
This is the first NYT puzzle, in fact the first published crossword anywhere as far as I know, with two stacks of four 15-letter answers. There's another full-width answer dead center.
Thursday, February 11, 2010 by Peter A. Collins
I have shaded squares along the main diagonal to make it easier to see the full name of 62 Down.
Monday, January 25, 2010 by Holden Baker
The grid in the printed paper looks something like this.
Sunday, January 24, 2010 — ABRIDGED EDITION by David Kwong and Kevan Choset
Click here to see how the empty grid appears in print and here to see the folded answers. I did an extended interview with the constructors for Wordplay.

Here is how to parse the long answers: FOLD PAGE SO A AND B ARE LINED UP IN THE TOP AND BOTTOM ROWS. The A and B refer to the only As and Bs in the top and bottom rows of the grid. In Mad Magazine, you had to fold the page so that A matched up to B above and below the drawing. When this puzzle is folded the highlighted answers reveal more things that fold.
Thursday, January 21, 2010 by Elizabeth C. Gorski
The print version of this puzzle (PDF, GIF) has nothing in the corners.
With this puzzle, 19-year-old Zoe Wheeler became the youngest female constructor in NYT crossword history. See Wordplay for an interview.
Thursday, December 17, 2009 by Francis Heaney and Patrick Blindauer
Animals march to NOAH'S ARK in pairs.
Starred answers end with DO, RE, MI, FA, SOL, LA, TI.
Every Across clue follows the same form.
This is a rare Friday puzzle with a theme. It came out Thanksgiving evening.
Ben Pall was 14 years old when this puzzle was published, making him the youngest constructor of an NYT crossword in the Shortz Era.
This is the first NYT puzzle to stack four 15-letter answers.
This is generally considered to be the most difficult puzzle of 2009.
Friday, October 30, 2009 by David Levinson Wilk
There are twelve 15-letter answers in this grid, an NYT record. The 44 three-letter answer words is also a record for a 15x grid.
Sunday, October 25, 2009 — WISHFUL THINKING by Brendan Emmett Quigley
See the response to this puzzle in this NBC report.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 by Richard Silvestri
In the print version of this puzzle, the four "-" clues are simply blank. PUB + LICE + DUCAT + ION = 36 Across.
Thursday, October 8, 2009 by Scott Atkinson
Four theme answers are compound words made up of "kinds" of TIME. 18 Across is DOUBLE PLAY and both DOUBLE TIME and PLAY TIME are common phrases. Similarly, HALF TIME and LIFE TIME, GAME TIME and FACE TIME, and AIR TIME (when a show is broadcast) and QUALITY TIME. Since the two kinds of TIME are together, one follows another and we have TIME AFTER TIME.
Thursday, October 1, 2009 by Patrick Blindauer & Rebecca Young
The print version of this puzzle varies from the Across Lite version. There is a blank square in the centre as shown here, 18 Across has a longer clue: "With 55-Across, direction indicator (and what to draw in the center of this puzzle)" and there is this mysterious clue for 55 Across: "See 18-Across." Click here to see one particular compass rose.
Sunday, September 27, 2009 — THAT IS TWO SAY by Patrick Berry
Each rebus square is "normal" in one direction but in the other direction, you have to pronounce the letters individually. So, for example, 24 Down is BED KNOBS but 31 Across is TOOTH DK meaning TOOTH DECAY.
Sunday, September 13, 2009 — LET'S PLAY BINGO by Todd Gross
This unusual grid has a Bingo card in the center. See this grid image or this PDF of the entire puzzle.
This grid is a map of Manhattan. Broadway diagonally crosses 8th, 7th, 6th, and 5th Avenues.
Sunday, August 30, 2009 — LITERALLY SO by Ashish Vengsarkar and Narayan Venkatasubramanyan
This theme is tricky. CUT removed from CIRCUMSTANCES = take out of context, GORE removed from GOVERNMENT UNREST = bloodless revolution, TIE removed from ARTICLE describes "the" (the article) missing "tie" (the link), RIMS removed from PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIANS = doctors without borders, FEE removed from FIFTH WHEEL means a spare (tire) but with no expense, WHAT A PANDA DOES IN LEISURELY FASHION minus PLUS means "eats shoots" (what the panda does) but "and" (that is, PLUS) leaves or is taken out, WORTHLESS ROADSTER is a lemon so with OREO cut out it's lemon, drop cookies. See blog commentary for more discussion.
Sunday, August 2, 2009 — GROUP FORMATION by Patrick Berry
I have shown the Greek letters in the grid but to read the crossing answers, you must spell those letters out. So, for example, 39 Down is β θ π but the crossing answers are TI[BETA]NS, ON[THETA]KE, and AMERICAN[PI]E.
Sunday, July 26, 2009 — STORY CIRCLE by Kevin G. Der
The original NYT Across Lite file inadvertently had a circle in each rebus square. The print version was correctly SIR-cle-less.
Thursday, July 23, 2009 by Gary & Stephen Kennedy
As the long answer at 7 Down implies, there are ten symmetrically arranged Across answers which need the word DOG added to make sense. 1 Across is HOT DOG, 9 is DEVIL DOG, 15 is ALPHA DOG, 36 is DOG EAR, 34 is DOG CATCHER. Those are all in the top half. Rotating the grid to see the symmetric answers in the bottom half you get DOG TAG, DOG BREEDER, LUCKY DOG, SALTY DOG, and at 74 across you need to add the missing word twice to get DOG EAT DOG.
This amazing puzzle has nine Word Squares: four 3 x 3, four 4 x 4, and one 5 x 5 right in the middle. This image shows all the word squares highlighted. See Wordplay for more.
Thursday, July 2, 2009 by Elizabeth C. Gorski
Here is a link to the portrait in question at 20 Across.
Sunday, June 7, 2009 — SHIFTY BUSINESS by Jeremy Newton
The circles outline a shift pattern for a five-speed standard transmission.
Thursday, May 7, 2009 by Elizabeth C. Gorski
You could fill this grid by putting a circle in each corner. The four rebus squares must be interpreted differently Across or Down. As shown here, the top entry is for the Across answer and bottom is for the Down. Notice that this makes a nicely symmetric set.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009 by Michael Callaway Barnhart
NYT published an official correction for the 24 Across clue, "Adoptee in Genesis." Moses doesn't appear until Exodus.
Sunday, April 12, 2009 — FITTING WORDS by Eric Berlin
In the print version of this puzzle, each block of four circles is represented by a single larger circle covering all four squares in that block. Click here to see what the grid is supposed to look like.
Saturday, April 4, 2009 by Matt Ginsberg
This clever puzzle confused many people. Despite the answer at 33 Across, the key is to read the FIRST letter of each clue. Then it all makes sense.
This grid looks like a compass and the four unchecked squares on each edge place N, W, E and S in their appropriate locations.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 by C. W. Stewart
This unusual rebus puzzle by Carolyn Stewart doesn't follow the normal rules. Each rebus square can contain either IN or OUT. Both work in each direction.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009 by Jeffrey Wechsler
This is the first puzzle for Mr. Wechsler in the Will Shortz era but it is not, in fact, his NYT debut. His previous puzzle was published the day after Apollo 11 launched on its historic mission to the moon in 1969. That's a forty year gap!
This clever Saturday puzzle has a hidden theme. Nestled into the four corners are the words SEX, DRUGS, ROCK and ROLL.
Sunday, January 18, 2009 — HIGH FIVE by Randolph Ross
This puzzle appeared the weekend before the 2009 Presidential Inauguration. OBAMA appears in each theme answer.
Sunday, January 11, 2009 — MAKING HISTORY by David J. Kahn
This crossword celebrating Barack Obama's victory in the 2008 presidential election briefly held the record for the most rebus squares of any puzzle in the database — 28.
Sunday, December 28, 2008 — GOING AROUND IN CIRCLES by Patrick Berry
Shaded squares outline planetary orbits in the print version of this grid. Each of the eight rings hides a planet name in order of mean distance from the Sun. See Wordplay for details about a couple of hidden Easter eggs.
There's something very unusual about this puzzle. Stare at the answers until you see it. Wordplay has an interview with the author.
The big gray boxes contain only vowels.
Saturday, December 6, 2008 by Ashish Vengsarkar & Narayan Venkatasubramanyan
As explained by 29 Down, the letters OR are missing from the ten starred theme clues.
This puzzle was used for set of granite coasters sold at the NYT Store.
The second half of each theme answer recycles the letters of the first half.
Sunday, November 23, 2008 — PICTURE THIS by David J. Kahn
Click the thumbnail above for a larger image of Le Bateau, the Matisse masterpiece that inspired this puzzle.
Sunday, November 16, 2008 — SOUNDS LIKE SOMEBODY I KNOW by Merl Reagle
This amazing puzzle has a direct tie-in to the episode of The Simpsons that aired the same day. Both the show and the crossword are self-contained but key plot elements are hidden in this puzzle. See the Wordplay blog post.
Friday, August 22, 2008 by Kevin G. Der
Until recently, this astounding puzzle held the NYT record for fewest blocks. Joe Krozel tied this record on August 7, 2010 and then beat it on July 27, 2012.
Sunday, August 17, 2008 — FADE-OUTS by Caleb Madison
With this puzzle, 15-year-old Caleb Madison became the youngest ever constructor of a Sunday NYT crossword, breaking the record set the previous January by 17-year-old Natan Last. (This record was subsequently broken by 14-year-old Ben Pall on Nov. 23, 2009.)
Saturday, June 21, 2008 by Tyler Lewis Hinman
Tyler Lewis Hinman's initials are spelled out in the black squares.
Clues with lies, or at least errors: 1-, 14-, 19- and 24-Across; and 8-, 9-, 28-, 47-, 49- and 50-Down. In an interview with the Yale Daily News, Will Shortz called this his favorite puzzle of 2008.
Thursday, May 29, 2008 by John Farmer
The way to read the rebus squares depends on your perspective. If you're looking at Across clues, read them as ACROSS and for the down clues, read them as DOWN.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008 by Caleb Madison
Caleb Madison was 15 years 3 months old when this, his debut puzzle, was published, making him the youngest constructor in the Shortz era at the time.
Sunday, April 27, 2008 — OOPS! by Oliver Hill
Be sure to see 65 Across for an explanation of this unusual puzzle.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008 by Stephen Edward Anderson
There are so many horsey theme answers it's easy to miss one: Silver (Lone Ranger), Scout (Tonto), Trigger (Roy Rogers), and Topper (Hopalong Cassidy.) Then in the middle, Had a Bit crosses Ride 'em Cowboy.
Sunday, April 20, 2008 — SPACED OUT by John Farmer
Following the convoluted notepad instructions yields the bonus phrase SOLAR SYSTEM. Note that the planets spelled out in the circles are listed in order of mean distance from the sun.

The instructions in the print version of the puzzle are far more elegant. The squares indicated in the notepad are shaded light grey and the clue for 9 Down reads "Center of many revolutions (whose first letter starts a bonus phrase reading clockwise around the shaded squares.)"
In print, the clue for 57 Across is blank, so the four theme clues drop one letter at at time: "INK", "IN", "I", and "", making DISAPPEARING INK.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008 by Larry Shearer
Every clue starts with the letter C. Four of the clues are simply the letter C.
Sunday, March 9, 2008 — SPLITS AND MERGERS by Patrick Berry
I have highlighted squares to show where the splits and mergers happen. The second clue in each theme entry requires a right-angle turn at the highlight so, for example, 31 Down is KILLER BEE and 59 Across can be read as EVEN THOUGH.
Sunday, March 2, 2008 — FORWARD THINKING by Patrick Blindauer and Tony Orbach
I have added highlights to show the theme answers. The Forward Thinking letter substitutions go through the alphabet in order. In 1 Across, A becomes B. In 29 Across, C becomes D, through to 126 Across where Y becomes Z.
Sunday, February 3, 2008 — JUST FOLLOW DIRECTIONS by Matt Ginsberg
Some clues are missing so you need to "follow the instructions." For example, 11 Across is UPSIDE followed by the DOWN answer CAKES, so UPSIDE DOWN CAKES. Similarly, 29 Across is PICKED UP SPEED, 34 Down is TWO LEFT FEET, and 41 Down is EXTREME RIGHT WING, etc. All nine such clues are modified appropriately in the answers below. The print version had different grid numbers. Here's a hand-solved grid from Linda G's old blog.
Sunday, January 20, 2008 — TRIANGULATION by Natan Last
Natan Last was a 17-year-old Brooklyn high school student when he became the youngest ever Sunday NYT constructor with this puzzle. The record lasted until 15-year-old Caleb Madison broke it on August 17, 2008.
this crossword was specifically compiled to form a part of the MIT Puzzle Hunt in 2008. MIT solvers were pointed to this puzzle and had to use information from the crossword to finish the original puzzle. The NYT crossword ran at the same time as the MIT Puzzle Hunt, so it was all planned in advance.

More information at the solution page for that puzzle.
Lynn Lempel joins the Consecutive Constructors Club.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008 by Patrick Blindauer
When you connect the Os you get a bow tie. So what's the clarinet relative? Ellen Ripstein had to tell me: "It's an O-bow (bow of O's, pronounced like the instrument oboe.)"
Sunday, December 30, 2007 — WINTER FIGURE by Elizabeth C. Gorski
The 16 circled letters, starting in square #34 and proceeding roughly counterclockwise, ending at #38, spell the opening lyric of a popular song. If you use your imagination, you can see a snowman in the pattern.
This is generally considered to be the most difficult puzzle of 2007.
Rather remarkably, not only are there no missing letters but the four rarest letters in Crossword puzzles, J, Z, Q, and X, are placed symmetrically in the four corners. Bravo.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007 by Alison Donald
The missing three-letter word is BUD.
The normal rebus rules don't apply to this Halloween puzzle. Six squares read TRICK in one direction and TREAT in the other. Three have TRICK Across and TREAT Down; the others have the reverse. The grid here shows the correct Across rebus entry stacked above the correct Down entry.
Falling stars drop off the edge of a cliff.
Sunday, October 7, 2007 — POLITICAL POSITIONS by Nancy Salomon and Harvey Estes
DEMs on the left, REPs on the right, and the sole IND at dead center.
Sunday, September 30, 2007 — FIVE-STRING by Kelsey Blakley
Nine theme answers contains all five vowels, once each, in order.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007 by Lee Glickstein and Craig Kasper
They are all Broadway musicals.
Thursday, September 13, 2007 by Joe Krozel & Victor Fleming
I don't count "theme squares" on XWord Info because the definition is too subjective but this collection of seven 15-letter law-related theme answers is remarkable.
Sunday, September 9, 2007 — PROCESS OF ELIMINATION by Patrick Berry
Letters not used TWICE (see 127 Across) spell LEFTOVERS. Joel Fagliano had a similar puzzle in 2016 where the leftover letters spell REMAINDERS.
Sunday, August 26, 2007 — GETTING AHEAD by Andrew M. Greene and Craig Kasper
Todd McClary and Jeffrey Harris are uncredited co-authors of this puzzle.
Every answer on the far right wraps around to the far left so, for example, 1 Across is not clued and the answer to 10 Across is NOT ONE.
Monday, July 9, 2007 by Peter A. Collins
Constructor Peter Collins celebrated his 50th birthday on the day this puzzle was published.
Saturday, March 31, 2007 by John Duschatko
Ten clues have answers which are CONTINUED ON THE NEXT LINE.
Sunday, March 18, 2007 — INITIAL SUBSTITUTIONS by Craig Kasper
Each "&" crosses a two letter abbreviation with a longer phrase using the same initials.
Sunday, February 18, 2007 — MAGIC WORDS by David Kwong and Kevan Choset
David Kwong who co-constructed Magic Words is a working magician.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007 by Nancy Salomon
This has the highest Scrabble score of any puzzle in the database.
Sunday, December 17, 2006 — LAY OF THE LAND by Joe DiPietro
Note that the abbreviated states along with Canada and Mexico are all correctly geographically distributed.
Sunday, October 22, 2006 — LINKLETTER ART by Harvey Estes
The central H is an integral part of seven crossing answers. For example, 67 Across is TENDER HEARTED and 13 Down is OLD AS THE HILLS.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006 by Michael J. Doran
This puzzle literally includes the entries CROSS-EXAMINES, CROSS-FIRES, CROSS-HAIRS, CROSS-ROADS, CROSS-SECTIONS, and, of course, CROSS-WORDS.
Thursday, July 27, 2006 by Ethan Friedman
In this schizophrenic puzzle about emperor penguins and daily newspapers, the answer for 46 Across can be either BLACK or WHITE. Each works for all the crossing clues.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006 by Damon J. Gulczynski
In 2016, Mr. Gulczynski followed up this puzzle with a similar one about 90s FADS.
Wednesday, June 7, 2006 by Patrick Blindauer
The 10 hidden body parts (see 38 Across) are ARM, EAR, EYE, GUM, HIP, JAW, LEG, LIP, RIB and TOE.
Sunday, May 21, 2006 — SPELLBOUND by Ashish Vengsarkar
To understand this, you have to divide the word QUOTE into its five letters, Q, U, O, T, and E.
Sunday, May 14, 2006 — TRAVELING IN CIRCLES by Patrick Berry
I love this puzzle. Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon, Hannibal crosses the Alps, and so on. And, although I don't know why, at 57 Across, a chicken crosses the road.
Sunday, April 30, 2006 — LIGHT THINKING by Elizabeth C. Gorski
The rebus entries should all be read OFF horizontally and ON vertically.
Saturday, April 1, 2006 by Kevan Choset and David Kwong
The secret to solving this puzzle is to THINK outside the box. Write that word outside each corner and it all makes sense. See answers below. An interesting counterpart was published a few weeks earlier.
Sunday, March 19, 2006 — ALWAYS FELT THIS WAY by Michael Shteyman
Joel Fagliano had a very similar idea about 8 years later.
This puzzle has a clever trick. To understand the answers for 1 Across, 29 Across, and 58 Across, you have to think INSIDE THE BOX. Follow the squares all the way around. See this interesting counterpart published a few weeks later.
Thursday, March 2, 2006 by Patrick Merrell
G.K. added to LADY'S NIGHT = GLADYS KNIGHT; O.S. added to LIVER TONE = OLIVER STONE; etc.
Sunday, February 5, 2006 — CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE by Eric Berlin
This puzzle has an embedded grid. This PDF file shows how the crossword appeared in the NYT Magazine.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006 by Patrick Merrell
I have shaded the squares that we're asked to circle at 65 Across.
Sunday, January 22, 2006 — THE SOUND OF MUSIC by George Barany and Michael Shteyman
The mystery person is WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART.
The 22 rebus squares in this puzzle is the third highest count in the database. The other two are both Sundays.
This amazing puzzle uses only 10 different letters, a record it shares with this puzzle.
Thursday, December 15, 2005 by Patrick Merrell
Reading as directed in the notepad: "The grid contains all the letters and only the letters touchtyped using the left hand."
Friday, December 2, 2005 by Patrick Merrell
In this unusual grid, no two black square touch each other, even at the corners.
Thursday, August 11, 2005 by Michael Shteyman
I have shaded in all the squares that contain the letter O so you can see the O-RING (22-Down.) After the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986, it was determined that an O-ring seal in its right solid rocket booster had failed at liftoff.
Thursday, July 21, 2005 by Patrick Blindauer
Shifting each letter in 38-Across one letter earlier in the alphabet produces the message YOU BROKE THE CODE.
Thursday, July 7, 2005 by David Quarfoot
The empty squares must be read as the word EMPTY.
Thursday, June 23, 2005 by Courtenay Crocker III
As the central Across answer MAN IN OUTER SPACE suggests, the six words at 1-, 18-, 27-, 47-, 62- and 68-Across (CHESTER, MILITIA, HANDLE, DRAFTS, SERVANT and TRIGGER) need to be preceded or followed by MAN (MANCHESTER, MILITIAMAN, MANHANDLE, DRAFTSMAN, MANSERVANT and TRIGGERMAN) to answer their clues.
Tuesday, May 31, 2005 by Merl Reagle
You can watch Merl Reagle construct this puzzle in the movie Wordplay.
Friday, April 1, 2005 by David Pringle
Former ACPT champ Dan Feyer calls this one of his favorite crossword gimmicks.
Sunday, March 13, 2005 — LABORATORY MAZE by Patrick Merrell
This puzzle has a visual aspect not included in the website version.
See this PDF of Clues and Grid on a single page, or this PDF of the Grid only in a larger size.

Mr. Merrell has provided this PDF which elegantly shows the complete answer.
Friday, March 11, 2005 by Manny Nosowsky
This amazing former record holder still has one of the lowest block counts of any published crossword. It was eclipsed on August 22, 2008.
This puzzle held the record for lowest word count in my database, 52, until Joe Krozel tied that record in 2012 and then broke it in 2013.
Thursday, January 20, 2005 by Manny Nosowsky
This grid has only 63 vowels, the fewest of any 15 by 15 puzzle in my database.
The word RED is needed to complete LETTER DAYS, LOBSTER, SKELTON, HOT CHILI PEPPERS, HERRING, BLOODED, EYE SPECIAL, ANT, HEAD, ALERTS, SHIRT, BREAST, CENT and INK.
As 40 Across explains, all the answers along the top and bottom edges are folded into the next row. So, 1 Across is QUESADILLA, 68 Across is NEWSPAPERS, etc. They are all, of course, things that can be folded.
Sunday, November 14, 2004 — BLUE STREAK by Harvey Estes and Nancy Salomon
The #@%*& symbols are used in the grid but the words are spelled out in the answer words below.
Tuesday, November 2, 2004 by Patrick Merrell
Here's what this puzzle looked like in print.
Thursday, October 7, 2004 by Patrick Merrell
This puzzle has a visual element that cannot be reproduced in Across Lite or on this site. The block in the top left corner has been chipped off. Click here to see how it looked in print.
Saturday, October 2, 2004 by David J. Kahn
38 Across should be interpreted as THREE SQUARES.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004 by Richard Silvestri
The clue for the three theme answers is WED.
Sunday, July 4, 2004 — BANNER DAY by Elizabeth C. Gorski
The rebus squares represent the stars as arranged in an EARLY US FLAG.
Many of the Down answers here have extraneous letters in this ingenious themed Saturday puzzle. To read them correctly, you have to drop in, drop by, drop out, or drop off as directed in the appropriate Across clues.
Sunday, June 6, 2004 — THE SUNDAY FUNNIES by Patrick Merrell
The original printed Sunday NY Times Magazine puzzle included comics. See this PDF.
Thursday, April 1, 2004 by Byron Walden
Seven * answers have to be turned upside down to make sense. So, for example, at 18 Across, NOISSIWNOOW should be read as MOONMISSION.
Thursday, March 25, 2004 by David Liben-Nowell and Ryan O'Donnell
Across rebus squares are interpreted as YANG, and down ones as YIN.
Thursday, February 19, 2004 by Alfio Micci (1918-2004)
For Across answers only, X is interpreted as KISS.
This extraordinary grid has only 17 Across clues.
Thursday, January 15, 2004 by Patrick Merrell
The experience here is not quite the same as the print version so it's best to print this out and solve it on paper.

1. unsymmetrical grid; 2. two-letter answers; 3. LORE in grid twice; 4. ACROSS heading instead of DOWN; 5. PUZLE misspelled (56A); 6. 50A clue out of order; 7. two 13D clues; 8. phony 37D clue; 9. 47D repeats answer as clue; 10. Will "Shorts"?
Saturday, January 3, 2004 by James M. and James C. Jenista
This minder bender (literally) is considered one of the toughest puzzles of the Will Shortz era. To read the answers correctly you have to follow the instructions and turn where indicated. So, for example, 4 Down is SATURN'S RINGS and 17 Across is LOW TURNOUTS.
Thursday, January 1, 2004 by Richard Silvestri
Every single clue starts with the same letter you see in the center: S.
Sunday, December 14, 2003 — BRANCHING OUT by Elizabeth C. Gorski
I believe this is the first puzzle where solvers draw an image by connecting the dots in alphabetical order.
Thursday, August 21, 2003 by Patrick Merrell
Words with rebus-like squares need to be read twice, once with each vowel. So, for example, 16 Across is FLIPFLOP and 12 Down is PINGPONG.
Sunday, August 17, 2003 — ALL KEYED UP by Elizabeth C. Gorski
1 2 3, 4 5 6, 7 8 9, * 0 # are arranged as on a telephone.
The black square immediately preceding or following 24A, 25A, 48A, 50A, 4D, 28D, 29D and 57D should be interpreted as a "block" and considered part of the adjoining answer. For example, 24A = SUNBLOCK, 25A = BLOCK PARTY, etc.
Wednesday, July 9, 2003 by Patrick Merrell
Lance Armstrong was already a "four-time champ" of the Tour de France, going into the 2003 race, which was just starting when this puzzle was published. If he won again that year, he would be a "five-time champ." Either answer fits at 35-Across.

The first letter of the first seven Across clues spell FARRELL. This is a tribute to Jeremiah Farrell, who created the famous CLINTON/BOB DOLE puzzle which pioneered this two-answer gimmick.

Mr. Armstrong went on to win seven consecutive Tours from 1999 to 2005 and then, of course, lost them all to a doping scandal.
Thursday, June 26, 2003 by Patrick Berry
I have shaded in squares with the letter that appears 21 times.
Thursday, June 19, 2003 by Randolph Ross
In this "turn the corner" puzzle, the second half of each right-angle answer (for example, 13 Down) was clued "More of the answer" in print. Later similar puzzles eliminated those clues altogether.
Tuesday, June 17, 2003 by Susan Harrington Smith
16 answers rhyme: GOOEY, PTUI, DEWEY, CHEWY, LOUIS, SUEY, BUOY, etc.
Thursday, May 22, 2003 by Dan Reichert
MAN + MAN needs to be read as MEN.
Thursday, May 8, 2003 by Elizabeth C. Gorski
"Catty-corner" answers: STRAY CAT, SIAMESE CAT, FAT CAT, TOM CAT, HEP CAT, etc.
Sunday, April 6, 2003 — PEOPLE WITH UNLISTED NUMBERS by Joe DiPietro
This puzzle was never published in Across Lite format on the NYT website and it's available here for the first time. Clues shown here as ellipses (...) were simply omitted in the print version.

The first and last names of famous people are clues to consecutive answers.
Sunday, March 16, 2003 — WORKS LIKE A CHARM! by Elizabeth C. Gorski
This colorized version makes it easier to see the charming four-leaf clover in the center of the grid.
Saturday, March 1, 2003 by Randolph Ross
In this beautiful super-symmetric puzzle, the four long theme answer have to be read in the indicated directions.
Thursday, November 7, 2002 by Patrick Merrell
X marks the spot in this pirate themed puzzled. The letters N, W, E, and S are arranged appropriately near the center.
Monday, September 9, 2002 by William I. Johnston
Every clue starts with the letter L. The four theme answers each have two words, each starting with L as well. There are 12 other L's in the grid. Can you spot them?
Sunday, July 21, 2002 — GOOD NEIGHBORS by Trip Payne
This could be considered a pangram since there is a V in the rebus answer at square 92.
Friday, July 5, 2002 by Manny Nosowsky
ONE under PAR at the top, and ONE over PAR at the bottom.
Sunday, April 14, 2002 — POSITIONAL PLAY by David J. Kahn
Baseball positions are in their appropriate locations.
Monday, April 1, 2002 by Roger Barkan
Look closely. This puzzle has unusual symmetry. April Fools!
Thursday, March 21, 2002 by Patrick Berry
A is the only vowel used in the entire grid. There are, amazingly, 69 of them!
Saturday, December 15, 2001 by Frank A. Longo
Every answer word in this grid is 6 or more letters long. It's the only puzzle in my database with this property.
The letters in the fifth, eighth and eleventh rows, reading left to right, spell the theme entries.
Tuesday, June 5, 2001 by Peter Gordon
This puzzle has the lowest average Scrabble score in the database. In fact, if you look closely at this crossword you'll see that this is a record that can never be broken.
Wednesday, May 30, 2001 by Joe DiPietro
This is a double pangram. Each letter is used at least twice.
Sunday, May 6, 2001 — BREAK-INS by Manny Nosowsky
In this block-jumping puzzle, clues missing below (like 26 Across) all appeared in print as [See title, and proceed].
Monday, April 9, 2001 by Mel and Peggy Rosen
Note the words along the top and bottom rows. This champion-themed puzzle is an homage to Ellen Ripstein. After coming close several times, she finally won the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in 2001.
Sunday, April 1, 2001 — TURNDOWNS by Bill Zais and Nancy Salomon
In this April Fool's puzzle, eight theme answers "turn down" at the end to complete the phrase.
Thursday, March 29, 2001 by William I. Johnston
The answer to 39-Across, when translated by the cipher key at 20- and 55-Across (A = Z, B = Y, C = X, etc.), spells OUR COVER IS BLOWN.
Friday, January 26, 2001 by Joe DiPietro
There is a rare error in this puzzle. The "China Beach" star at 14 Down is Dana DELANY, not DELANEY. Ms. Delany was a guest solver at Wordplay in 2011.
Sunday, December 31, 2000 — MAKING A FACE by Elizabeth C. Gorski
Connect the numbers in order to "make the face."
Sunday, May 14, 2000 — TAKING TURNS by Bill Zais and Nancy Salomon
Several answers "take a turn" to complete their solutions. So, for example, 1 Across is BUT I DIGRESS.
Thursday, March 9, 2000 by Myles Callum
This puzzle was originally and erroneously credited to Manny Nosowsky.
Sunday, July 25, 1999 — MIRROR MIRROR by Charles M. Deber
Note from constructor Charles Deber in his Wordplay interview.
Tuesday, May 4, 1999 by Gayle Dean
There are no E's in either the answers or the clues.
Sunday, April 11, 1999 — SPRING DREAM by Matt Gaffney
In this taxing puzzle, IRS is dropped from eight answers.
Saturday, March 13, 1999 by David J. Kahn
In this Prohibition puzzle, various sorts of alcohol are missing from the theme answers, but only in one direction. So, TNEDPLANE becomes T[WINE]EN[GIN]EDPLANE, XANDERNOY is [ALE]XANDER[PORT]NOY, DSTICKS is D[RUM]STICKS, MAXBOHM is MAX[BEER]BOHM, and HAIRDRS is HAIRD[RYE]RS.
Tuesday, February 9, 1999 by Janet R. Bender
Only one vowel is used in the entire grid. It appears 78 times.
Sunday, November 15, 1998 — ON YOUR MARK by Robert H. Wolfe
Symmetrically distributed symbols punctuate this clever grid. There's one subtle factual error. At the time this puzzle appeared, JEB Bush at 10 Across was still only the Gov.-elect.
This is the first triple pangram published in the NYT. See 34 Across.
Wednesday, April 1, 1998 by Alan Arbesfeld
This puzzle April Fooled many solvers who thought they saw an accidental repeat from the day before. The grid pattern and the first three clues are identical.
Sunday, March 8, 1998 — WHAT A NICE PICNIC! by Richard Silvestri
The theme answers all have common phrases with the word ANT omitted making for "a nice picnic."
Thursday, January 22, 1998 by Patrick Jordan
Missing clues: Grant, Ford, Pierce
In this audio interview, Will Shortz calls this marriage proposal from Bill to Emily his second favorite crossword ever.
Sunday, October 19, 1997 — STRING QUINTET by David J. Kahn
Each of the four long theme answers contains a string of five consecutive different vowels.
Saturday, May 10, 1997 by Isabel Walcott
This clever and elegant puzzle has no IFs, ANDs, or BUTs in the 5 theme answers. CHERKNE becomes [BUT]CHERKN[IF]E, YGRFITHSHOW is [AND]YGR[IF]FITHSHOW, JPEANUTTERSWICH is J[IF]PEANUT[BUT]TERS[AND]WICH, BEAVISTHEAD is BEAVIS[AND][BUT]THEAD, and NOSSORS is NO[IF]S[AND]SOR[BUT]S.
The empty squares must be read as the word BLANK.
Tuesday, November 5, 1996 by Jeremiah Farrell
This amazing puzzle appeared the morning of the 1996 U.S. presidential election. The answer word at 39 Across can be filled in with either CLINTON or BOBDOLE and all the crossing Down clues work either way. In this audio interview, Will Shortz calls this his favorite crossword ever.
Sunday, October 6, 1996 — MYSTERY THEME by R. Max Hopkins
The 22 Clues starting with + indicate answers made up entirely of consecutive two-letter U.S. state abbreviations.
Sunday, October 22, 1995 — APPROPIATELY PUT by Matt Gaffney
The seven theme Down clues have to be read from the bottom up.
The three wise men, one of the seven seas, and the sixties.
Sunday, August 27, 1995 — GO FIGURE by Martin Schneider
The images can be seen here but since they are hard to read, I'll describe them. 23 Across is the letters "Quakerism adherents" arranged in a circle. 32 Across is "Approximately" arranged again in a circle. 105 Across is "Extension" in a wavy pattern. 117 Across is "Somers Islands formerly" shaped like a triangle. 4 Down is "Floor covering" in a circle. 16 Down is "Waltzing" in a box. 34 Down is "Pugilism" in a circle. 50 Down is "Place of business" in an oval. 58 Down is "Victoire" in an arch. 84 Down is "Castor Pollux" arranged in two peaks.

This is also the only NYT puzzle to include PENIS as an answer.
The stepquote reads, "It is the most beautiful of games."
This April Fool's puzzle has a double twist. Four words require each letter to be doubled for the crosses to work, and must be parsed as "double ___." So, for example, "Like an oboe, but not a sax?" is RR-EE-EE-DD read as DOUBLE REED.
The print version of this puzzle had a normal 15x15 grid. You had to write four letters outside the box to complete it.
There's something unusual about this grid.
Sunday, September 4, 1994 — PLAYING THE ANGLES by Wayne Robert Williams
The rebus squares below indicate where answers take a right angle turn. The first letter of each pair belongs to the answer that starts from the left and bends down. The second letter is from the answer that starts above and bends to the right. In the print version, those squares are bisected with a diagonal line from the NW to SE corner.
Sunday, July 10, 1994 — STEPQUOTE by Alvin Chase
The stepquote reads, "What is essential is invisible to one's eye."
Sunday, June 26, 1994 — @ ¢ ? ! by Nancy Nicholson Joline
Symbols are used in the grid but the symbol names are spelled out in the answers below.
Sunday, February 13, 1994 — ELAND by Cathy Millhauser
E is the only vowel used in the entire grid. There are a record 138 of them.
Sunday, November 21, 1993 — SPECTRAL ANALYSIS by Peter Gordon
The Shortz Era began with this rainbow grid from Peter Gordon, a tribute to the much-heralded Roy G. Biv. There was an earlier more straightforward rainbow theme back in 1981.

Pre-Shortz puzzles

The clues are labeled Across and Up.
Sunday, December 20, 1992 — WHITE CHRISTMAS by John M. Samson
The blank squares are intended to mean "White CHRISTMAS."
Sunday, August 16, 1992 — DOS-À-DOS by Irene Smullyan
The following correction was published:

In [this puzzle], part of an answer was misspelled. The "complicated collaboration" (114A, third line from the bottom) included Richard Rodgers (not Rogers).

Sunday, May 31, 1992 — CRYPTOCROSSWORD by Eugene T. Maleska
This PDF shows the puzzle as published. I wrote a blog post about this puzzle.
The cryptogram answer is — Some outspoken fans make this plea: "Put Rose into the Hall of Fame, for Pete's sake!"
Wednesday, April 1, 1992 by Lawrence M. Rheingold
Four theme answers need to be read backwards.
Sunday, October 13, 1991 — IMPLANTED NUMBERS by Ernst Theimer
The "0" rebus at 40 Down and 52 Across means AUGHT.
Sunday, September 22, 1991 — OOH, THAT BANANA PEEL! by Lawrence M. Rheingold
The stepquote reads, "The step is short from the sublime to the ridiculous."
Monday, April 1, 1991 by William S. McIlrath
Four theme answers must be read backwards. April Fools!
Sunday, August 19, 1990 — HOW TO ACHIEVE HAPPINESS by Eugene T. Maleska
The stepquote reads, "Have either a clear conscience or none at all."
Sunday, April 1, 1990 — PLEASE THINK TWICE! by Bert H. Kruse
You have to think twice to solve the theme answers. First, find a word that answers the clue. Second, find a meta clue that points to that answer. For example, at 97 Across, "Memorable humorous poet" could be NASH but for the answer, think twice, and enter ANTIQUE CAR. Here's another. 36 Down, "Edward or Norman" points to LEAR so that would make the meta-answer REGAN'S FATHER.
Sunday, January 21, 1990 — INTRUSIONS by Ralph G. Beaman
The highlighted squares are presumably intended to represent the Æ and Œ ligatures as shown in the grid here. The published NYT answer grid showed them as normal AE and OE rebus entries.
Sunday, May 14, 1989 — STEP QUOTES by Charles M. Deber
The split stepquote reads, "Cheers to good health, happiness and wealth."
Sunday, January 3, 1982 — STEPQUOTE FOR '82 by E.T.M.
The stepquote reads, "Lord, make me wiser every year and better every day."
Sunday, June 7, 1981 — STEPQUOTE by E.T.M.
The stepquote reads, "The fashion wears out more apparel than the man."
Sunday, September 2, 1979 — STEPQUOTE by E.T.M.
The stepquote reads, "For labor, a short day is better than a short dollar."
Thursday, March 3, 1977 by Michael W. Miller
This puzzle was originally published under the name Mike Miller. To avoid confusion with another Mike Miller, we have changed the byline to read Michael W. Miller.
Monday, December 6, 1976 by Michael W. Miller
This puzzle was originally published under the name Mike Miller. To avoid confusion with another Mike Miller, we have changed the byline to read Michael W. Miller.
Sunday, July 4, 1976 — FREE THINKING by Anne Fox
This is the largest crossword in our database. See the other big ones here.
Sunday, July 7, 1974 — STEPQUOTE by Eugene T. Maleska
The stepquote reads, "All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream."
Sunday, April 23, 1972 — STEPQUOTE by Eugene T. Maleska
The stepquote reads, "There is more pleasure in loving than in being beloved."
Sunday, February 21, 1971 — STEPQUOTE by Eugene T. Maleska
The stepquote reads, "Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Sunday, June 21, 1970 — STEPQUOTE by Eugene T. Maleska
The stepquote reads, "Life is not a spectacle or a feast; it is a predicament."
Sunday, May 25, 1969 — "STEPQUOTE" by Eugene T. Maleska
The stepquote reads, "The man who can make hard things easy is the educator."
Sunday, January 19, 1969 — "STEPQUOTE" by Eugene T. Maleska
The stepquote reads, "Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits."
Sunday, June 30, 1968 — "STEPQUOTE" by Eugene T. Maleska
The stepquote reads, "The achievement of justice is an endless process."
This is the first double pangram published in the NYT.
Sunday, September 3, 1967 — "SLIDE-QUOTE" by Eugene T. Maleska
The slide-quote reads, "Learn to labor and to wait."
Sunday, July 2, 1967 — "STEPQUOTE" by Eugene T. Maleska
The stepquote reads, "Better three hours too soon than a minute too late."
Sunday, September 25, 1966 — "STEPQUOTE," PUNNY STYLE by Eugene Maleska
The stepquote reads, "Is it harder to toot or to tutor two tooters to toot?"
Sunday, December 5, 1965 — "STEPQUOTE" SPECIALTY by Eugene T. Maleska
The stepquote reads, "Great things are done when men and mountains meet."
Sunday, July 4, 1965 — "STEPQUOTE" SPECIALTY by Eugene T. Maleska
The stepquote reads, "I'm not a politician, and my other habits are good."
Sunday, May 30, 1965 — WORDS AND WORDS by Bernice Gordon
Bernice Gorden is often credited with inventing the crossword rebus (this is her first) but there were predecessors in the 1950s.
Sunday, May 2, 1965 — "STEPQUOTE" SPECIALTY by Eugene T. Maleska
The stepquote reads, "Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted as wise."
Sunday, July 5, 1964 — 'STEPQUOTE' SPECIALTY by Eugene T. Maleska
The stepquote reads, "Contentment is a warm sty for eaters and sleepers."
Thursday, December 10, 1953 by Willard Jordan
This is the first pangram published in the NYT.
Sunday, January 4, 1948 — WHAT DO YOU KNOW? by P. J. Lamanna
Peter Zenger (see 87 Down) is a key figure in the historical fight for freedom of the press.
Sunday, February 15, 1942 — HEADLINES AND FOOTNOTES by Charles Erlenkotter
This is the very first crossword published by the New York Times.