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What To Do After You Finish the NY Times Crossword Puzzle


I love playing the NYT crossword, but I only recently discovered Rex Parker Does the NY Times Crossword Puzzle, a blog of daily puzzle reviews, full of spirit and bile. And although like Jason I’m a little put off by how negative the reviews can be — I don’t want the thing I’m so proud to have just finished be considered “toothless” or “dead in the water”!! — they’re also funny. So maybe it’s fine, or actually better. For instance, from his review of Tuesday’s puzzle:

The [theme answers] seemed listless (except [REDACTED], which just seemed bizarre), and the overall fill ran weak (and heavily, drearily name-y; more on that below), and then [REDACTED], ugh, I would’ve shut my computer right there if I weren’t contractually obligated to go on. […] As for the rest of the puzzle, it was gunked up with names to an unusual, and possibly dangerous degree.

Lol. Meanwhile, there’s also XWordInfo (NY Times crossword “answers and insights” — useful for puzzle constructors, too), Diary of a Crossword Fiend (“reviewing the best crosswords in print and on the web”), and Daily Crossword Links (“all the day’s crosswords in one place”), as well as the NY Times’ own Daily Wordplay Column, an adjoining column riffing on each day’s puzzle, often with a mini-interview of that day’s puzzle constructor. (From today’s constructor: “This puzzle was partly inspired by my children, who love to put on one red oven mitt and run around the kitchen exclaiming, ‘Look, I’m an (18A)!’”) The comments section here is also a goldmine for community-minded puzzlers. What else is out there?

But really the main thing to do after finishing the puzzle is to open the Spelling Bee back up… Am I right???

Discussion  23 comments

Rebecca Nelson

Our family (mom, dad, 16- and 12-year-old sons) have started playing Connections and Wordle after dinner (when we remember), and bashing terrible categories or words we struggled with. I'm *still* pretty pissed about ASCOT the other day.

Edith ZimmermanMOD

Love the idea of these as a family affair!

Catherine Brennan

ASCOT was the worst. Nearly broke my then 520 day streak.

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Dave Sandell

I've been enjoying Puzzmo's smaller but often more eccentric daily crossword as a nice pairing with the NYT. NYT before I go to bed, and Puzzmo during my first work break the next day.

Jenni Leder

Yes! Also a Puzzmo fan!

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Joshua Gooden

I'm on a 1200+ completion streak, so I typically just put the phone down. Especially later in the week, each puzzle feels like a OT free throw, so I'm pretty burnt at the end.

I do like connections a lot, but the lack of streaks/stats all but ensures that I forget about it about 5/7 days.

Edith ZimmermanMOD

Holy crap

Lauren Ouellette

Oh wow, that's impressive. I was chuffed just to reach 100!

Catherine Brennan

Holy wow!

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Dan O.

My wife and I do the NYT crossword together every night for the last 5 years (haven’t missed one yet but a trip to New Zealand really made it tough to do one of those!). First thing we do after finishing is read Rex. We used to find him snobbish and overly critical, but as we have done more crosswords we’ve come to love his irascible style. It always brings a smile to our face how elated he is when he (rarely) loves a puzzle and now we love to guess what he will hate. An extra bonus puzzle 🎉

Caroline G.

The worst is when I hate something in the puzzle and think “Rex is gonna hate that!” and he doesn’t even mention it! 😭


@Caroline I do the exact same thing.

Joshua Gooden

@Caroline Yes! Especially when I'm groaning at what I perceive to be a miserable themer and he says something like "Delightful change of pace"

C'mon man, I need you to be with me on this one.

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Sadly Jeff Chen over at XWordInfo stopped providing daily commentary recently, after doing it for 10 years! Still a great site with a huge amount of historical info.

Mac Brown

Make sure to check out Diary of a Crossword Fiend - they've been around forever and are a much more upbeat group than the Rex scene.

Lauren Ouellette

Okay, this is a whole subgenre that I didn't know existed and I'm here for it. My opinions don't really line up with Rex's in terms of what is fun/boring or easy/hard, but I am still finding the commentary entertaining.

I've been trying for a while to get into cryptic crosswords, but as an American I find some of them too difficult. Lovatt's is usually doable for me, so I'll move on to that if I've exhausted the NYT games.

Jenni Leder

I just saw that Puzzmo is hosting a Crossword convention in NY April 5th.

Crossword Con is dedicated to how crossword puzzles interface with various aspects of society. Think less "how do I make a grid?" or "how do I write clues?" and more:

🌐 How have crosswords brought the community together, including during the pandemic?

🧑‍💻 What kinds of software development has emerged around solving, creating, and disseminating crosswords?

🤝 How can crosswords raise money for charity and increase awareness?

We have an absolutely amazing lineup of speakers and panelists for you featuring Liz Maynes-Aminzade, the puzzles & games editor at The New Yorker; Ben Tausig, the founder and editor of AVCX; and our very own Zach Gage.


Once you get good at crosswords, the thing to do is to spend between two and twelve minutes solving the NYT, then go on living your life.
People like “Rex Parker”, who have solved thousands of crosswords a year for decades and still like to complain about some random weekday puzzle not being “delightful”, are the most tiresome people on earth!

Nathan Clark

I finish the daily crossword, then sometimes move through the other puzzles. Like @Joshua said 👆connections is great. Spelling Bee too. EXCEPT neither shows streaks. So I had a 200-250 day streak of queen bees (with some hints along the way) which took forever… and got tired as their words got weirded and there wasn’t a streak on display.
Connections is a family effort. Wordle too sometimes. And if I’m craving more puzzles and I work back in the archive. Started the puzzles last summer and I’ve worked back to May 2022 so far.
I like the NYT games app, except the recent update is meh so far.

Edith ZimmermanMOD

So impressed by a 200-day queen bee streak, btw. Has come to mind enough that I came back to comment.

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My NYT crossword streak is over 1750. I will be so sad if I ever miss a day.

But I also use the NYT crossword as a warm up for Puzzmo, although my time over there is rarely good enough for the top 100.

I originally started doing the crossword to get better at bar trivia, but now it's a fully developed meal of its own. And with the newer crosswords, such as Vox, Vulture, or Puzzmo adding fresh words and quicker puzzles, it's more fun now than it's ever been.

Joshua Gooden

👏 Very nice! Before my current streak (which is about 500 short of yours), my previous long was ~850, and I got the flu on a particularly obscurant thursday and was crestfallen when it died. I know that this streak too will end, but I'm trying not to imagine it.


Oh, the times I was THIS CLOSE to losing the streak.

One time the power supply on my tablet died, and I had to get a new one and then get to some wifi and then do the puzzle.

Mission Impossible theme playing in my head the whole time.

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