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I am a relative NYT crossword n00b, so I just found out about XWord Info and the wealth of statistics available there — it’s like sabermetrics for crosswords. Word nerds, I’m sure there are other CW resources like this out there…share your faves?

Discussion  15 comments

Paul Berg
Jason KottkeMOD

I read Rex after completing puzzles but often leave wondering why someone who professes to love crossword puzzles dislikes most of the puzzles he reviews? I feel like a typical Rex review is: "another meh puzzle but I guess let's talk about it". Does he actually expect each puzzle to be great, with unique fills and novel themes? Critique is fine but it's frustrating — his site should feel like a celebration of puzzles and it doesn't.

Mac Brown

Yeah, rex is a grouch, can't stand his attitude. Go with "Diary of a Crossword Fiend", the people there are great. BTW, one of the best things about the crossword community is how they have no patience for anyone who isn't inclusive. It's an awesome community.


Not sure why you would say "critique is fine" after correctly pointing out that it's unreasonable to expect every daily crossword to be interesting for an expert solver. I personally think that this makes that the daily crossword "review" sites absurd (even the ones where the writers are polite and generally like crosswords).

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Phil Gyford

The SNITCH (Same-day Numeric Index of Times Cryptic Hardness) is a score of the difficulty for each Times Cryptic Crossword as shown in the table.

That's the UK Times. I've never tried the Times Cryptic but knew about the SNITCH from Cracking the Cryptic's Friday videos which are a lovely thing. Amazing how quickly he can do them, but he's also great at not assuming much knowledge on the part of the viewer, and explaining how he solved each clue.

Jason KottkeMOD

Daily Crossword Links compiles a list of available puzzles each day. So many puzzles out there!

Yen Ha

Welcome to the wonderful world of NYT CW nerdiness!! My sister and I hard core fan-girl love Will Shortz, to the extent that we once attended the American Crossword Tournament that he hosts every year.

Phil Wells

I used to work on the team that develops the digital crossword. Developers have access to a cheat code they call SHORTZ MODE.

Yen Ha

I love that

Anna M

Hi Phil. What is the shortz mode I am curious. Can we see it as a player on the nyt xword page?

Phil Wells

It's only activated for internal employees. It lets you do things like reveal squares and words without affecting your streak and auto-discover words in the Spelling Bee. Just like any other game might embed cheat codes for developers to quickly get the game to some state of progress for testing certain things.


Phil, any chance you'd have tips for someone who might be interested in working on that team eventually? I'm a software engineer and have applied before but been rejected. I would have to be fully remote, which didn't appear to be a problem at the time I applied, but might be now.

Even if you don't have any particular tips, I'd still be curious in hearing more about what it's like!

Phil Wells

Jonah, sure! Message me on LinkedIn (I googled "linkedin phil wells new york times" in an incognito window and I was the first hit.)

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Leon Barnard

I love the NYT CW.
I have no interest in resources about it because I find pleasure in trying, giving up, then trying again and again until I crack it.

In the last year my wife and I started tag-teaming and got to the point that we were able to solve it every day. And now each of us can do it by ourselves given enough time.

It’s strange to get better at it despite hardly learning any new words. For me, the fun is trying.

Anna M

I love the NYT Xword. However when I try to see the the details of a certain puzzle or the answers I prefer a site solely dedicated to the NYT Puzzle(like or RexwordPuzzle ) as opposed to the generic all-in-one xword sites that get me confused by grouping similar clues together and there's not distiction between clues or puzzle authors.

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