Completed A New York Times Crossword Puzzle

The New York Times crossword puzzle is an icon in American culture.  It’s syndicated in over 300 newspapers and journals.  The standard daily puzzle is 15 squares x 15 squares, while the Sunday puzzle is usually either 21x21 or 23x23.  The easiest puzzles are released on Mondays and the puzzles get harder as the week goes on.  The most difficult puzzle is on Saturday.  The Sunday puzzles are larger but are equivalent to Thursdays in difficulty.

My original plan was to do the puzzle from today, but since they charge a subscription fee to get it from their website, I decided to grab a puzzle from an earlier Tuesday.  I chose Tuesday because I am not very experienced with crossword puzzles, but I also wanted something a little tougher than a Monday.

I printed out the puzzle from February 24, 2009.  My goal was to solve as much of the puzzle as I could without any help, which was a pretty fair amount.

There was definitely some erasing when I had to go back and correct parts.  Also, there were some clues I didn’t get as well:
  • -I did not know the word “fjord” (a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs).
  • -The 65 Across clue “toothless enemy” had me stumped, even when I had several of the letters.  The answer is “paper tiger”, which is kid of like a dog whose bark is worse than its bite.
  • -One that I never got until the end was 68 Across “terse bridge bid”, which was “one no”.  It finally dawned on me that it meant bridge the card game.
  • -52 Down “Walked out the door” had me stumped forever.  Even when I got the answer “sawout”, I still didn’t get it until I realized it meant “saw out”, like to see someone out.
  • -I also had no idea what a haberdashery was.  When I find out that it was a men’s outfitter, “tie clasp” did eventually work itself out.


Overall, this was a good experience.  I’m sure if I worked on crossword puzzles more often, I could get pretty good at them.  I might try a few more Tuesday puzzles before trying a Wednesday sometime.  It was an excellent exercise for my mind, and I’m glad I got to experience, even just for a short time, this part of American culture.


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