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The NY Times Crossword: A Timeless Favorite

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There is probably no other puzzle in existence as well-known as The New York Times Crossword Puzzle. This daily puzzle has been featured in the newspaper since the 1940s and is now available in print, on their website and as an app. For any fan of crossword puzzles, the NY Times Crossword is a must-have download for their mobile devices.

How the NY Times Crossword Works

The NY Times Crossword lets you take the challenge of the classic word puzzle with you wherever you go. It has an endless amount of puzzles (and packs of puzzles) to solve. All of the puzzles are organized by length and difficulty level, which means you can play according to your skill level and amount of time available.

The general gameplay of the NY Times Crossword app is the same as the original printed version from the newspaper. 

  1. Blank squares line up vertically and horizontally to create grids. 

  2. Each square represents a letter in a word. The goal is to add the missing letters to the squares to spell those words.

  3. The words are numbered, and each number has a word that goes down the grid, across it, or both. Multiple words interconnect and share letters. This adds a layer of difficulty to the game by forcing you to choose letters that will correctly spell more than one word at a time.

  4. To find the words, read the clues for each one. These notes, which appear below the grid, will give you part of the information you need. 

  5. Use your deductive reasoning skills and trivia knowledge to figure out what each missing word is.

Available Modes and Features

The NY Times Crossword keeps its focus on the core gameplay. But, it does offer some puzzle options that differ enough to give you more content to enjoy.

Daily Puzzles

These are new crossword puzzles released every day. You’ll be able to play one NY Times crossword puzzle when you first download the app. However, you’ll need to subscribe to The New York Times and connect your account to the app to play them again after that.

The Daily Puzzles start out simple at the start of the week. Then, they become more complex as the week progresses. By the end of the week on Sunday, the word list for the puzzle becomes massive.

Mini Puzzles

Short on time? The NY Times mini crossword is perfect for that. Mini Puzzles are small puzzles that the game generates every day. They are also free to access without a subscription. Compared to the other puzzle sets, the NY Times mini crossword is designed to be a quick game option for people who don’t have enough time to complete a full-sized puzzle.

The New York Times Crossword Packs

The Packs are collections of crossword puzzles. Like the Daily Puzzles, they start out small and simple and become more elaborate as you progress. Where the Mini Puzzles are the perfect puzzles for someone only looking to spend a little time with the game, the Packs let you play to your heart’s content.

Note: The first puzzle in each Pack is free to play. You’ll need to make in-game purchases to unlock the rest.

Gameplay Options and Features

Each New York Times crossword puzzle has a number of tools and features you can use at will. They let you customize your experience in multiple ways. Try experimenting with these options as you play.

  • Puzzle settings: These are the player preference settings. Adjust options such as the game’s color theme and the size of the clues. You can also hide or show the puzzle’s timer.

  • Answer checker: You can use this tool to check the answers for letters, words and entire puzzles. It can automatically check each letter as you enter them, too. If you want it to, it can reveal the answers to the entire puzzle. Doing so will finish the puzzle for you.

  • List view: This is an alternate layout for the puzzles. Rather than arranging the words in a standard crossword grid, the game will show them in two lists. One list has all of the horizontal words and another has all of the vertical words.

Helpful Tips and Tricks

Crossword puzzles aren’t always the easiest puzzles to complete. Winning relies on having a large vocabulary and vast knowledge about a wide range of topics. If you’re having trouble with any of the puzzles or their words, these useful tips can help you get past them.

  • Skip the words where you don’t know the answers. You can always come back to them later. If one clue has you stumped, the clue for the word after it could be about a more familiar topic. Fill in the easy questions first, then return to the difficult ones.

  • Check the clues for both the down and across words. Don’t get so fixated on solving the horizontal words that you forget to check the vertical ones. Switching to those might help you find letters that will make the answers to horizontal words more obvious.

  • Let the game’s answer checker help you. You can save yourself a lot of time if you double-check your answers by using the checker. It doesn’t find individual answers for you, but it will keep you from going in completely the wrong direction.

  • Fill in the blanks with WordFinder. Use WordFinder’s unscrambler tool to find missing letters. When you use the solver, you can include up to three question marks to represent missing letters. This is a fast way to narrow your search. The WordFinder mobile app is a convenient option too.

Become a Crossword Puzzle Champ

The NY Times Crossword is a fun pastime, and it can definitely deliver a challenge on a regular basis. It takes a lot of practice and skill to consistently solve these puzzles. If you’re a new crossword fan, do yourself a favor and read our guide on the best ways to solve any crossword puzzle. It’s a great way to start developing those skills. 


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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