NYT Letter Boxed: A Quick Guide to the Fan-Favorite Puzzle

NYT Letter Boxed game concept

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In early 2022, The New York Times purchased Wordle from Josh Wardle. Wordle immediately became one of the newspaper’s most popular inclusions in The New York Times Games collection. Among that collection, you’ll also find NYT Letter Boxed, a word game that lines up perfectly with the rest of the NYT games. It’s a fantastic puzzler to add to your daily routine.
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About Letter Boxed NYT Games

Letter Boxed is a daily word game you can play using any web browser. It blends logic, planning and memorization to deliver the perfect level of difficulty. Each puzzle has 12 unique letters arranged around a box. What you need to do is connect those letters together to create words. 

The trick, however, is that after the first word, each subsequent word needs to start with the same letter at the end of the previous word. This means that if you played “finder” as your first word, your next word needs to start with R. Then, repeat this process until you have used all 12 letters at least once. You must use all the letters within five turns.

If this general gameplay dynamic sounds familiar, it’s because it’s similar to alpha-omega word games, also known as first letter, last letter games. 

How to Play: NYT Letter Boxed Rules

You now know your main goal in NYT Letter Boxed. So, let’s now examine the game’s rules for how you will accomplish that goal. Your chances of winning Letter Boxed hinges on how well you understand these rules.

NYT Letter Boxed game screenshotNYT Letter Boxed game screenshot
  1. Start the game by finding your first word. Click or tap on any of the letters. Then, select another letter and the Letter Boxed game will draw a line between them.

  2. As you form your word, you cannot select a letter on the same side of the box as the last letter you picked. You must cross over to one of the three other sides.

  3. You can use the same letter multiple times in a word if you wish.

  4. There is no maximum word length, but the words must be at least three letters long.

  5. With each word you find, the next word you create must start with the last letter of the preceding word.

How to Win at NYT Letter Boxed

Looking at the rules for NYT Letter Boxed, you can tell it’s a fairly easy game to figure out. Of course, knowing the rules won’t mean you automatically win every game. You still need skill and sound strategies if you want to do that. Luckily for you, as with other NYT games, we want to help you start off strong with this game. That’s why we’ve prepared these essential Letter Boxed tips and strategies.

Change Your Previous Words If Necessary

You need to complete the box in five turns or less. Sometimes, you’ll reach your fourth or fifth turn and realize that there’s no way you can make that happen. If you reach that point, hit the “Delete” button underneath the puzzle box a whole bunch of times. If you’re playing on a computer, hitting “backspace” on your keyboard does the same thing.

Pressing that button deletes the last letter you played. But, if you keep going, it also starts deleting the previous word. This means you can backtrack as much as you want. It might be a pain to do, but going back to square (or box) one might be your best option.

Plan Out Your Word Choices

You play one word at a time, but you shouldn’t play like you’re playing one word at a time. When you’re making your first word, look at what letters are available and think about what words you can make next. Then, let that information inform you of what word you’ll play first, as its last letter is what you’ll be working with first on your next turn.

NYT Letter Boxed game screenshotNYT Letter Boxed game screenshot

Be Mindful of the Letter Placement

When you pick a letter, the next letter you pick cannot be on the same side of the box. This means that your options are actually 25% lower than you might initially think. For each word, consider which letters are available, which letters are not available and which letters will start and end your word.

Get Fast Letter Boxed Help From WordFinder

If you’re having trouble figuring out what word you can make from the available letters, go to our word finder tool for some quick assistance. Thanks to the advanced search features, you can tell WordFinder to find words that start with or end in specific letters. You can also tell it to find words of a certain length. Once it produces a list of words that fit your desired parameters, just scroll through the list until you find the perfect choice.

Unscramble letters with WordFinder by YourDictionaryUnscramble letters with WordFinder by YourDictionary

Letter Boxed and NYT Games History

The NYT Letter Boxed game was originally released in 2018. This was the same year as the NYT Spelling Bee, with both titles joining the NYT crossword puzzles. The main goal for Letter Boxed designer Sam Von Ehren was for the game to fill a void that the NYTimes Crossword did not and could not fill. 

Though New York Times games still cater to the core audience who enjoy crossword puzzles, NYT Letter Boxed is much more accessible. It also appeals to a wider player base. Combined with the NYT Spelling Bee and Wordle, Letter Boxed acts as an entry point and an alternative to the more traditional NYT games.

The New York Times Games Family

The NYT Letter Boxed game offers you something unique for the realm of word games, at least when you consider most other mainstream offerings. That’s what each of the NYT games tries to accomplish: let you enjoy something unique. So, if uniqueness is what you appreciate, you should do yourself a favor and try out all of the NY Times’ word games. The NY Times Crossword and NYT Spelling Bee are fun and refreshing in their own ways. And remember we’ve got daily Wordle hints for when you’re struggling to find the five-letter word of the day too. 


Zac Pricener has been a content creator for the past eight years. He’s a bit of an all-around nerd, and he has a bad habit of working movie and TV show references into conversations whenever possible.

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