I purchased the New York Times digital subscription about a year ago because for some reason I decided I hated myself and wanted to stay hip to current events.
It wasn’t long before I was asking, “Self, why do you hate you…rself?” But by that point I had developed the habit of doing the NYT Daily Crossword(s), along with a couple other word games and logic puzzles. Is Sudoku technically a logic puzzle? Maybe not, I don’t know. All I know is I taught myself how to do Sudoku in the last few months, at least in “easy” mode.
Anyway, I am in the throes of passion with NYT crossword puzzles, a passion which now burns brighter and hotter than ever after discovering that I can access all the daily crossword puzzles since 1993.
That’s right, we’re talking like 10,000+ crossword puzzles at my disposal. Not sure how long it will take me to catch up but I intend to do all of them. I figure if I do 2-3 puzzles per day it’ll take me about ten years. This is my White Whale. If I never advance in my career or get my Ph.D., I will always have the daily crosswords.
I’ve noticed some interesting patterns as I traverse time and space through these puzzles.
- There are just some words in our vernacular that will never not be used in a crossword puzzle. These include oboe, ides, odes, elle (always in reference to the magazine) and aura. These words are timeless and quite frankly until one becomes a slur (my money is on oboe), they will be common crossword answers until the end of time.
- Doing these 29-year old crossword puzzles is hard. Not only do you have to connect words to clues, you have to understand what the clues mean in a certain context. From the November 24, 1993, puzzle, for example: the clue for 26-down was VCR button. VCR BUTTON. Don’t get me wrong; like most children of the 90s, I understand the joys and woes and workings of the video cassette recorder. But for the life of me, I could not connect the dots. (My husband uncovered the answer right away. “The most important button on the VCR,” he crowed. How could I have possibly forgotten? What a smartass.)
- Context is also fascinating when the meaning of some answers from decades ago evoke entirely new connotations: offset and pandemic, for two. I almost threw my phone on that second one. #toosoon
- I am surprised by the appearance of some words and their relevance to my life. In December of 2021 alone, answers included SYNOD and SEMINARY.
I feel like doing these crossword puzzles are opening up sections of my brain that have long gone unused. That’s a good feeling.
If you are into word puzzles or logic puzzles, or just looking for different smartphone games without the bells, whistles, whooshes and bright flashing colors, definitely look into getting a Games from the New York Times subscription. It includes the Daily, and some of my other faves like Daily Mini, Spelling Bee, Letter Boxed and (now!) Wordle.
You should also subscribe to their Gameplay newsletter. It’s the one thing I look forward to on a Thursday (aside from the obvious nearness of the weekend!).
To be clear, this is not an ad. But y’all should be friggin paying me for these things, no cap. Jeez louise.