The New York Times crossword puzzle is a daily puzzle published in The New York Times, online at the newspaper's website, syndicated to more than 300 other newspapers and journals, and available as mobile apps.
The puzzle is created by various freelance constructors and has been edited by Will Shortz since 1993. The puzzle becomes increasingly difficult throughout the week, with the easiest puzzle on Monday and the most difficult puzzle on Saturday. The larger Sunday crossword, which appears in The New York Times Magazine, is an icon in American culture; it is typically intended to be as difficult as a Thursday puzzle. The standard daily crossword is 15 squares × 15 squares, while the Sunday crossword measures 21 squares × 21 squares (previously, 23 × 23 square Sunday puzzles were also accepted; in addition a special set of 25 × 25 Sunday puzzles, with two sets of clues—easy and hard—was published in 1999 to commemorate the upcoming millennium).
While crosswords became popular in the early 1920s, it was not until 1942 that The New York Times (which initially regarded crosswords as frivolous, calling them "a primitive form of mental exercise") began running a crossword in its Sunday edition. The first puzzle ran on Sunday, February 15, 1942. The motivating impulse for the Times to finally run the puzzle (which took over 20 years even though its publisher, Arthur Hays Sulzberger, was a longtime crossword fan) appears to have been the bombing of Pearl Harbor; in a memo dated December 18, 1941, an editor conceded that the puzzle deserved space in the paper, considering what was happening elsewhere in the world and that readers might need something to occupy themselves during blackouts. The puzzle proved popular, and Sulzberger himself would author a Times puzzle before the year was out.
In 1950, the crossword became a daily feature. That first daily puzzle was published without an author line, and to this day the identity of the author of the first weekday Times crossword remains unknown.
There have been four editors of the puzzle: Margaret Farrar from the puzzle's inception until 1969; Will Weng, former head of the Times's metropolitan copy desk, until 1977; Eugene T. Maleska until his death in 1993; and the current editor, Will Shortz. In addition to editing the Times crosswords, Shortz founded and runs the annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament as well as the World Puzzle Championship (where he remains captain of the US team), has published numerous books of crosswords, sudoku, and other puzzles, authors occasional variety puzzles (a.k.a. "Second Sunday puzzles"; see below) to appear alongside the Sunday Times puzzle, and serves as "Puzzlemaster" on the NPR show "Weekend Edition Sunday".
The popularity of the puzzle grew over the years, until it came to be considered the most prestigious of the widely circulated crosswords in America; its popularity is attested to by the numerous celebrities and public figures who've publicly proclaimed their liking for the puzzle, including opera singer Beverly Sills, author Norman Mailer, baseball pitcher Mike Mussina, former President Bill Clinton, conductor Leonard Bernstein, TV host Jon Stewart and music duo the Indigo Girls.
The Times puzzles have been collected in hundreds of books over the years from various publishers, most notably Random House and St. Martin's Press, the current publisher of the series. In addition to their appearance in the printed newspaper, the Times puzzles also appear online at the paper's website, where they require a separate subscription to access. In 2007, Majesco Entertainment released The New York Times Crosswords game, a video game adaptation for the Nintendo DS handheld. The game includes over 1,000 Times crosswords from all days of the week. Various other forms of merchandise featuring the puzzle have been created over the years, including dedicated electronic crossword handhelds that just contain Times crosswords, as well as a variety of Times crossword-themed memorabilia including cookie jars, baseballs, cufflinks, plates, coasters, mousepads, and the like.
Will Shortz does not write the Times crossword himself; the puzzles are submitted to him by a wide variety of contributors. A full specification sheet listing the paper's requirements for crossword puzzle submission can be found online (see "External Links") or by writing to the paper. Aside from increasing in difficulty throughout the week, the Monday-Thursday puzzles and the Sunday puzzle always have a theme, some sort of connection between at least three long (usually Across) answers, such as a similar type of pun, letter substitution, or alteration in each entry. Another theme type is that of a humorous quotation broken up into symmetrical portions and spread throughout the grid. For example, the February 11, 2004, puzzle by Ethan Friedman featured a theme quotation: ANY IDIOT CAN FACE / A CRISIS IT'S THIS / DAY-TO-DAY LIVING / THAT WEARS YOU OUT. (This quote has been attributed to Anton Chekhov, but this attribution is in dispute and the specific source has not been identified.) Notable dates such as holidays or anniversaries of famous events are often commemorated with an appropriately themed puzzle, although only two are currently commemorated on a routine annual basis: Christmas and April Fool's Day. The Friday and Saturday puzzles, the most difficult in the paper, are usually unthemed and "wide open", with fewer black squares and more long words. The maximum word count for a themed weekday puzzle is normally 78 words, while the maximum for an unthemed Friday or Saturday puzzle is 72; Sunday puzzles must contain 140 words or fewer. Given the Times's reputation as a paper for a literate, well-read, and somewhat arty audience, puzzles frequently reference works of literature, art, or classical music, as well as modern TV, movies, or other touchstones of popular culture.
The puzzle follows a number of conventions, both for tradition's sake and to aid solvers in completing the crossword:
In addition to the primary crossword, the Times publishes a second Sunday puzzle each week, of varying types, something that the first crossword editor, Margaret Farrar, saw as a part of the paper's Sunday puzzle offering from the start; she wrote in a memo when the Times was considering whether or not to start running crosswords that "The smaller puzzle, which would occupy the lower part of the page, could provide variety each Sunday. It could be topical, humorous, have rhymed definitions or story definitions or quiz definitions. The combination of these two would offer meat and dessert, and catch the fancy of all types of puzzlers." Currently, every other week is an acrostic puzzle authored by Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon, with a rotating selection of other puzzles, including diagramless crosswords, Puns and Anagrams, cryptics (a.k.a. "British-style crosswords"), Split Decisions, Spiral Crosswords, word games, and more rarely, other types (some authored by Shortz himself—the only puzzles he has created for the Times during his tenure as crossword editor). Of these types, the acrostic has the longest and most interesting history, beginning on May 9, 1943, authored by Elizabeth S. Kingsley, who is credited with inventing the puzzle type, and continued to write the Times acrostic until December 28, 1952. From then until August 13, 1967 it was written by Kingsley's former assistant, Doris Nash Wortman; then it was taken over by Thomas H. Middleton for a period of over 30 years, until August 15, 1999, when the pair of Cox and Rathvon became just the fourth author of the puzzle in its history. The name of the puzzle also changed over the years, from "Double-Crostic" to "Kingsley Double-Crostic," "Acrostic Puzzle," and finally (since 1991) just "Acrostic."
As well as publishing a second word puzzle on Sundays, the Times publishes a KenKen numbers puzzle (a variant of the popular sudoku logic puzzles) each day of the week. The KenKen and second Sunday puzzles are available online at the New York Times crosswords and games page, as are "SET!" logic puzzles, a word search variant called "Spelling Bee" in which the solver uses a hexagonal diagram of letters to spell words of 4 or more letters in length, and a monthly "bonus" crossword with a theme relating to the current month. The Times Online also publishes a daily "mini" crossword, usually 5x5 but occasionally 7x7 or larger, which is significantly easier than the traditional daily puzzle.
Fans of the Times crossword have kept track of a number of records and interesting puzzles (primarily from among those published in Shortz's tenure), including those below. (All puzzles published from October 23, 1996, on are available to online subscribers to the Times crossword.)
A few crosswords have achieved recognition beyond the community of crossword solvers. Perhaps the most famous is the November 5, 1996 puzzle by Jeremiah Farrell, published on the day of the U.S. presidential election, which has been featured in the movie Wordplay and the book The Crossword Obsession by Coral Amende, as well as discussed by Peter Jennings on ABC News, featured on CNN, and elsewhere. The two leading candidates that year were Bill Clinton and Bob Dole; in Farrell's puzzle one of the long clue/answer combinations read "Title for 39-Across tomorrow" = MISTER PRESIDENT. The remarkable feature of the puzzle is that 39-Across could be answered either CLINTON or BOB DOLE, and all the Down clues and answers that crossed it would work either way (e.g., "Black Halloween animal" could be either BAT or CAT depending on which answer you filled in at 39-Across; similarly "French 101 word" could equal LUI or OUI, etc.). Constructors have dubbed this type of puzzle a Schrödinger or quantum puzzle after the famous paradox of Schrödinger's cat, which was both alive and dead at the same time. Since Farrell's invention of it, nine other constructors—Patrick Merrell, Ethan Friedman, David J. Kahn, Damon J. Gulczynski, Dan Schoenholz, Andrew Reynolds, Kacey Walker and David Quarfoot (in collaboration), and Ben Tausig have made use of a similar trick.
In another notable Times crossword, 27-year-old Bill Gottlieb proposed to his girlfriend, Emily Mindel, via the crossword puzzle of January 7, 1998, written by noted crossword constructor Bob Klahn. The answer to 14-Across, "Microsoft chief, to some" was BILLG, also Gottlieb's name and last initial. 20-Across, "1729 Jonathan Swift pamphlet", was A MODEST PROPOSAL. And 56-Across, "1992 Paula Abdul hit", was WILL YOU MARRY ME. Gottlieb's girlfriend said yes. The puzzle attracted attention in the AP, an article in the Times itself, and elsewhere.
On May 7, 2007, former U.S. president Bill Clinton, a self-professed long-time fan of the Times crossword, collaborated with noted crossword constructor Cathy Millhauser on an online-only crossword in which Millhauser constructed the grid and Clinton wrote the clues. Shortz described the President's work as "laugh out loud" and noted that he as editor changed very little of Clinton's clues, which featured more wordplay than found in a standard puzzle. Clinton made his print constructing debut on Friday, May 12, 2017, collaborating with Vic Fleming on one of the co-constructed puzzles celebrating the crossword's 75th Anniversary.
The Times crossword of Thursday, April 2, 2009, by Brendan Emmett Quigley, featured theme answers that all ran the gamut of movie ratings—beginning with the kid-friendly "G" and finishing with adults-only "X" (which, however is now replaced with the less crossword-friendly NC-17 rating). The seven theme entries were GARY GYGAX, GRAND PRIX, GORE-TEX, GAG REFLEX, GUMMO MARX, GASOLINE TAX, and GENERATION X. In addition, the puzzle contained the clues/answers of "'Weird Al' Yankovic's '__ on Jeopardy'" = I LOST and "I'll take New York Times crossword for $200, __" = ALEX. What made the puzzle notable is that the prior night's episode of the US television show Jeopardy! featured video clues of Will Shortz for five of the theme answers (all but GARY GYGAX and GENERATION X) which the contestants attempted to answer during the course of the show.
Ask Me Another is an hour-long radio puzzle game show produced by WNYC and National Public Radio. It is hosted by the Canadian comedian Ophira Eisenberg and features, as its "in-house musician" or "one-man house band", the independent rock musician Jonathan Coulton. It is typically recorded in The Bell House in Brooklyn, New York. The show has been produced since 2012.Bernice Gordon
Bernice Gordon (January 11, 1914 – January 29, 2015) was an American constructor of crosswords. She created puzzles for many publications after beginning her career in the early 1950s, and holds the record as the oldest contributor to The New York Times crossword puzzle. A 1965 Times puzzle she wrote is credited as the first rebus puzzle, fitting an exclamation point into a single square. She celebrated her 100th birthday in 2014, just a few weeks after the 100th anniversary of the crossword. Her last puzzle was published in the Los Angeles Times on December 2, 2014.Born a Crime
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood is an autobiographical comedy book written by the South African comedian Trevor Noah.Deb Amlen
Deb Amlen (born April 22, 1962) is a humor writer and crossword puzzle constructor whose work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and other national publications. She is on the team that constructs the American Values Club crossword (formerly The Onion The A.V. Club crossword), edited by Ben Tausig, and is the "X Games" columnist for BUST Magazine. As of January 2011, Amlen is the New York Times' official blogger writing about The New York Times crossword puzzle at Wordplay.
She is also a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science class of 1980.
She is the author of It's Not PMS, It's You (2010, Sterling Publishing), a humorous look at the possible biological reasons behind why men act the way they do. Amlen's second book is "Create Your Life Lists" (2011, Sterling Publishing), a hands-on guide to writing life lists.Dominic Monaghan
Dominic Bernard Patrick Luke Monaghan (; born 8 December 1976) is an English actor. Monaghan first gained fame for being Hetty Wainthropp's sidekick Geoffrey in Hetty Wainthropp Investigates (1996–98). He then played Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck in Peter Jackson's epic film trilogy The Lord of the Rings (2001–03) based on the novel of the same name by J.R.R Tolkien, Charlie Pace on the television show Lost (2004–2010), and Chris Bradley in superhero film X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009). He currently hosts the nature programme Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan (2012–present).Lips Together, Teeth Apart
Lips Together, Teeth Apart is a play by American playwright Terrence McNally. The play, which premiered Off-Broadway in 1991, concerns two straight couples who spend a weekend in a gay community.Louisville Eccentric Observer
The Louisville Eccentric Observer (also called LEO Weekly but widely known as just LEO) is a privately owned free urban alternative weekly newspaper, distributed every Wednesday in about 700 locations throughout the Louisville, Kentucky, metropolitan area, including areas of southern Indiana. The newspaper was founded in 1990 by John Yarmuth, Robert Schulman, Denny Crum (then the coach of the University of Louisville men's basketball team), and two other investors. According to The Media Audit (March–April 2012) the LEO has a weekly readership of 88,807 and an unduplicated monthly readership of 136,478.
The paper carries various nationally syndicated columns and features such as News of the Weird and The New York Times crossword puzzle. However, the reviews of music, restaurants, theatre, films, books, and local and sports news, are all written by local writers. In the past, it featured popular columns by national writers Molly Ivins and Dave Barry.Mangesh Ghogre
Mangesh Ghogre is an international crossword constructor with puzzles published in New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times. He is credited to be the first Indian to have constructed crosswords for many top newspapers in the USA like the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal apart from the New York Times. His crosswords have also been featured in books like Games and World of Puzzles and syndicated by over 200 newspapers around the world.Being recognized as the first Indian-based crossword constructor for the Los Angeles times in 2010, and becoming the first Indian to judge the New York Times crossword puzzle tournament in the year 2012, and designed a crossword themed “Fourth of July”, for the US Independence Day edition in 2017, which was aimed at bringing people of India and US closer.An investment banker by profession, he currently is an executive director at the Global Investment Bank, Nomura from the year 2016.
A resident of Mumbai, the now 37 years old is an alumnus of Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI), from where he graduated as a mechanical engineer, and NMIMS from where he secured a degree in MBA with specialisation in finance.
He also contributes to the “Speaking Tree” column of the Times of India.Mangesh showcased his published crosswords at an art gallery at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival in 2014. In an interview with Hindustan Times, he described that making crosswords is a work of art.In December 2017, Mangesh organised a workshop on crosswords which was hosted by the US Consulate General premises in Mumbai. He is the only person who was born and raised outside North America, and who has never lived there, to create a crossword puzzle for The New York Times.
Deb Amlen, head writer and editor of The New York Times’s Wordplay column, said “Mangesh’s crosswords show that he has an admirable grasp not only of American English colloquialisms, but the art of setting the crossword as well.”
Will Shortz, crossword editor at The New York Times and director of the annual crossword tournament, wrote in an email “I would say he is very rare,”. Shortz confirmed that, with the exception of American-born expats, and puzzlers who were born elsewhere but raised in the U.S. or Canada, no other non-North American has ever had a puzzle published in the Times.Merl Reagle
Merl Harry Reagle (January 5, 1950 – August 22, 2015) was an American crossword constructor. For 30 years, he constructed a puzzle every Sunday for the San Francisco Chronicle (originally the San Francisco Examiner), which he syndicated to more than 50 Sunday newspapers, including the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Seattle Times, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), the Hartford Courant, the New York Observer, and the Arizona Daily Star. Reagle also produced a bimonthly crossword puzzle for AARP The Magazine magazine, a monthly crossword puzzle for the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI, and puzzles for the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament.Mumpsimus
A mumpsimus () a "traditional custom obstinately adhered to however unreasonable it may be", or "someone who obstinately clings to an error, bad habit or prejudice, even after the foible has been exposed and the person humiliated; also, any error, bad habit, or prejudice clung to in this fashion". Thus it may describe behaviour or the person who behaves thus. For example, all intensive purposes is a common eggcorn of the fixed expression all intents and purposes; if a person continues to say the eggcorn even after being made aware of the correct form, either the speaker or the phrase may be called a mumpsimus.Rhino Times
The Rhino Times is a free weekly conservative news and opinion newspaper published in Greensboro, North Carolina, which was founded in 1991 as the Rhinoceros Times. A Charlotte, North Carolina, print edition was founded in 2002 and discontinued in 2008. Its circulation in 2010 was 30,000.The Rhinoceros Times' last publication was the April 25, 2013 edition. John Hammer cited financial reasons for closing the doors after 21 years. A web presence was said to be continued as long as possible. It was acquired by local developer Roy Carroll and reopened in October 2013.Toots (film)
Toots is a documentary film which outlines the life of Toots Shor (1903–1977), Manhattan's premier saloonkeeper from the year 1940 to the year 1959. At 18, he relocated from South Philadelphia to New York and became a speakeasy bouncer. In 1940, he opened his restaurant, Toots Shor's at 51 West 51st St., which was frequented by sports heroes, actors, mobsters, cops, politicians, visiting dignitaries, and writers. The film is commentated by Shor's daughter, Frank Gifford, Peter Duchin, former sports writers, and others as the filmmaker mixes still photographs, archive footage, including an appearance on "This Is Your Life," and an audio-tape interview from 1975 to present a portrait of New York during and after Prohibition and of a lovable, larger-than-life, uniquely New York public figure.Trip Payne
Norman "Trip" Payne is an American professional puzzle maker. He is known by many as a three-time champion of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (ACPT). With his first victory in 1993, at the age of 24, Payne became the youngest champion ever in the tournament's history, a record he held until 2005.Truthiness
Truthiness is the belief or assertion that a particular statement is true based on the intuition or perceptions of some individual or individuals, without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts. Truthiness can range from ignorant assertions of falsehoods to deliberate duplicity or propaganda intended to sway opinions.The concept of truthiness has emerged as a major subject of discussion surrounding U.S. politics during the 1990s and 2000s because of the perception among some observers of a rise in propaganda and a growing hostility toward factual reporting and fact-based discussion.American television comedian Stephen Colbert coined the term truthiness in this meaning as the subject of a segment called "The Wørd" during the pilot episode of his political satire program The Colbert Report on October 17, 2005. By using this as part of his routine, Colbert satirized the misuse of appeal to emotion and "gut feeling" as a rhetorical device in contemporaneous socio-political discourse. He particularly applied it to U.S. President George W. Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court and the decision to invade Iraq in 2003. Colbert later ascribed truthiness to other institutions and organizations, including Wikipedia. Colbert has sometimes used a Dog Latin version of the term, "Veritasiness". For example, in Colbert's "Operation Iraqi Stephen: Going Commando" the word "Veritasiness" can be seen on the banner above the eagle on the operation's seal.
Truthiness was named Word of the Year for 2005 by the American Dialect Society and for 2006 by Merriam-Webster. Linguist and OED consultant Benjamin Zimmer pointed out that the word truthiness already had a history in literature and appears in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), as a derivation of truthy, and The Century Dictionary, both of which indicate it as rare or dialectal, and to be defined more straightforwardly as "truthfulness, faithfulness". Responding to claims by Michael Adams that the word already existed with a different meaning, Colbert said: "Truthiness is a word I pulled right out of my keister".Ucalegon
Ucalegon (Ancient Greek: Οὐκαλέγων) was one of the Elders of Troy, whose house was set afire by the Achaeans when they sacked the city. He is one of Priam's friends in the Iliad, and the destruction of his house is referred to in the Aeneid.He is referenced in the Satires of Juvenal. His name in Greek is translated as "doesn't worry." The name has become an eponym for "neighbor whose house is on fire," and Will Shortz, editor of The New York Times crossword puzzle, has stated that it's his favorite word in the English language.Vic Fleming
Victor Anson "Vic" Fleming (born December 26, 1951) is an American judge, law professor, and writer residing in Little Rock, Arkansas.
He was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and grew up in Greenville, Mississippi. He holds a B.A. in English from Davidson College and a J.D. from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law. He has taught at Bowen as an adjunct faculty member since 2003. He was elected as a district judge for the City of Little Rock in 1996, and reelected in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 without opposition. The position is now officially known as State District Court Judge, Little Rock, Division 2.Fleming has written two books of legal humor, including Real Lawyers Do Change Their Briefs; edited five other books, including three volumes of crossword puzzles; and published a collection of crossword puzzles entitled I Swear.His crossword puzzles have appeared in the New York Times and many other newspapers; several magazines, including Games Magazine, The Rotarian, and The American Lawyer; and several books, including the Simon & Schuster Mega Crossword series and Random House Casual Crosswords; and in other venues. He appeared in the 2006 documentary Wordplay, which also featured a song that he wrote. The New York Times crossword puzzle published on Friday, May 12, 2017, was collaboratively constructed by Fleming and former president Bill Clinton.Wei-Hwa Huang
Wei-Hwa Huang (黃煒華, born August 4, 1975) is an American puzzler, member of the US Team for the World Puzzle Championship, and game designer.Huang was a member of the United States International Math Olympiad team in 1992 and 1993, where he was awarded a Silver Medal both years. He was a Putnam Fellow in 1993. Huang has won the annual World Puzzle Championship on four occasions: 1995 and 1997–1999. He also won the 2008 Sudoku National Championship. With team Left Out, he won the 2019 MIT Mystery Hunt.With Tom Lehmann, Huang designed the board game Roll for the Galaxy released in 2014 by Rio Grande Games. Roll for the Galaxy is a dice-based adaption of the award-winning card game Race for the Galaxy with deck-building mechanics. Huang and Lehmann also designed Roll for the Galaxy: Ambition, an expansion released in 2015. Roll for the Galaxy was nominated for three Golden Geek Awards and an International Gamers Award.Huang graduated from Montgomery Blair High School and the California Institute of Technology and was an employee at Google until July 2008. One of his most famous projects was the Da Vinci Code Quest on Google, which was a set of 24 puzzles launched on April 17, 2006, in cooperation with Columbia Pictures.Huang submitted a crossword puzzle to The New York Times newspaper which was published on Tuesday, September 10, 2002. In 2012, Huang co-authored a book with Will Shortz, the editor of The New York Times crossword puzzle.Wordplay (film)
Wordplay is a 2006 documentary film directed by Patrick Creadon. It features Will Shortz, the editor of the New York Times crossword puzzle, crossword constructor Merl Reagle, and many other noted crossword solvers and constructors. The second half of the movie is set at the 2005 American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (ACPT), where the top solvers compete for a prize of $4000. Wordplay was the best reviewed documentary film of 2006, according to Rottentomatoes.com
The movie focuses on the following crossword solvers:
Ellen Ripstein: editor living in New York City and 2001 ACPT champion. She is also known for her baton twirling.
Trip Payne: professional puzzlemaker living in South Florida and three-time ACPT Champion. He held the record as the youngest champion after winning the tournament in 1993 at the age of 24.
Tyler Hinman: student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. At the 2005 ACPT, he challenged Trip Payne for the title of youngest champion ever.
Jon Delfin: pianist living in New York City and seven-time ACPT champion.
Al Sanders: project manager at Hewlett-Packard in Fort Collins, Colorado. He is a frequent finalist at the ACPT.The movie contains appearances by many celebrity fans of the Times puzzle, including Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, Jon Stewart, Ken Burns, Mike Mussina, Daniel Okrent, and the Indigo Girls.
A 2008 episode of The Simpsons, "Homer and Lisa Exchange Cross Words", is based on the film. James L. Brooks got the inspiration for the episode after watching Wordplay. "We felt both Will and Merl were very compelling, off-the-beaten-track personalities [in Wordplay], who would fit into our universe very well," Brooks said. The episode was written by Tim Long, and directed by Nancy Kruse, and guest starred crossword puzzle creators Merl Reagle and Will Shortz as themselves.
Wordplay features a theme song, "Every Word," written and performed by Gary Louris of The Jayhawks. The Wordplay DVD features a music video of "Every Word."Wynken, Blynken, and Nod
"Wynken, Blynken, and Nod" is a popular poem for children written by American writer and poet Eugene Field and published on March 9, 1889. The original title was "Dutch Lullaby". The poem is a fantasy bed-time story about three children sailing and fishing among the stars from a boat which is a wooden shoe. The names suggest a sleepy child's blinking eyes and nodding head. The spelling of the names, and the "wooden shoe," suggest Dutch language and names, as hinted in the original title.