New York Times graphic for Wordplay (Illustration: Elena Xausa)
Solving a challenging puzzle like the New York Times Crossword is less about what you know and more about understanding how to penetrate those tricky clues.
The New York Times Crossword, which started as a way to give newspaper readers a diversion from the woes of World War II, has become the gold standard in the puzzle industry. Hundreds of thousands of people count themselves as Times Crossword solvers—and many turn to the paper’s crossword puzzle column “Wordplay” to get daily tips for navigating the word grid.
Deb Amlen, the Times' crossword columnist and senior editor of “Wordplay,” presents an insider's look at how the crossword evolved through history, how you can get started as a puzzle solver or improve your skills, and ways to eventually crack the code behind even the trickiest of clues. And getting better at solving one kind of puzzle might just make you a little better prepared to deal with others you encounter along the way.
View an article by Deb Amlen about the history of crossword puzzles in the December 2019 issue of Smithsonian magazine.