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Students make connections with The New York Times games

By Nick Fioravanti, Staff Writer

Photo Credit: The New York Times

Back in 1942, The New York Times began introducing crosswords as a feature of their daily publication. Word game lovers rejoiced as people would take turns trying to solve that week’s crossword puzzle. For 72 years, devoted readers of The New York Times enjoyed their fill of the daily crossword and filled them out in the paper editions of the newspaper. 

Through that long stretch of time, newspapers had decidedly fallen out of fashion with the revelation of the internet. As more and more people were getting connected to the World Wide Web, less and less people were getting their news in a physical format. 

Like many news publications across the world, The New York Times followed the trend and released an online version of their publication.

But what was to come of the people’s beloved crossword?

In 2014, The New York Times reintroduced the crossword to their publications in a new, bite-sized form. This new daily “mini” crossword was the fresh substitute online readers of the newspaper wanted.

Up until 2022, it seemed as though the only people accessing and playing the mini crossword were avid readers of the publication. TikTok found the daily mini crossword and soon enough, it felt as though everyone started sharing their Wordles, Connections and Mini scores.

Post students expressed their enjoyment of The New York Times’ games.

“I play every day,” sophomore theatre arts major Anna Myatt said. “I usually do them in the following order: Wordle, Mini, Connections, Strands, Spelling Bee. I will then play Letter Boxed if I have time. I sometimes play Tiles, Vertex and Sudoku.”

Young people all around the country were swept up in The New York Times’ daily games hysteria. People posting videos about tricky puzzles on TikTok and YouTube, and sharing their scores with friends are big contributing factors to the games’ explosion in popularity.

Senior theatre arts major Isabelle Yoon shared her thoughts on The New York Times’ games. 

“I play The New York Times games every day,” Yoon said. “I don’t play all the games every day, but I do start my morning with Wordle and Connections. If I have the time, I’ll do Spelling Bee, the Mini and Vertex.”

People start their days doing their daily mini crosswords as fast as possible at work or at school, and sharing their frustrations with their colleagues. Not only do these games provide a nice challenge for those playing, but it also brings people together. 

“My friend Emily and I usually challenge each other in the Mini to see who can get it the fastest, we both almost always get under a minute,” Myatt explained. “My family and I send our Wordles every day and see who can get it in the least amount of guesses. Emily and I had a couple of classes together, but really bonded over our love of crosswords and the New York Times games. Now we do them together every Tuesday after class.”

Not everyone plays for the competitive aspect, however. Yoon would rather play at her own pace. 

“I only have one friend who plays but we don’t compete,” she said. “We both do Wordle and Connections and send results to each other, but we don’t have a competitive streak with it.”

Throughout the short existence of The New York Times’ mini series of games, the publication has managed to attract a large number of interested and curious readers through their fun and addictive games. However, while the games used to be free, some of them are not playable past a certain point unless you subscribe to The New York Times.

People have expressed their joys and frustrations over the games all over the internet and the Times has listened to some player feedback, although not much has changed as of recently.

Myatt shared her thoughts on this.

 “Bring back digits,” she said. “Digits quickly became my favorite New York Times game and they got rid of it. I also wish all of Spelling Bee was free because it cuts me off from playing once I reach a certain number of points.”

Yoon also has some frustrations surrounding the games. 

“I wish there was a Vertex archive,” she lamented. “I used to be able to play multiple times a day with different pictures but now it’s only one a day.”

Whether you’re a witty Wordler or a quirky cruciverbalist, The New York Times games will have you covered to feed your boredom at school or work.

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