Old week of NYT crosswords with strange themes and tricks?
October 20, 2021 11:27 PM   Subscribe

Within the past several years, there was a week of NYT crosswords that all had novel tricks to them, similar to the Schrödinger’s puzzle (it wasn’t that). Shortz did something like ask constructors to submit puzzles with tricks that they felt like were too “out there” for normal submission. I can’t find it, or I’m googling poorly. (SEO for crosswords is a mess.) This has been gnawing at the back of my mind, and I just tried to describe it to someone, then find it, and came up blank. Help?

It doesn’t seem to be any of the notable puzzles in the Wikipedia article.

I think it would have been between Sept 2015 and Mar 2020. (I have a mental image of which house I was in at the time.) I had a vague recollection that it was during the Summer, but this could be completely fabricated.
posted by supercres to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I think one of the puzzles had a layout where the top left corner clues were normal, bottom right were reversed, top right and bottom left were rotated or something? One might have had no black squares, or no down clues, that sort of thing.
posted by supercres at 11:36 PM on October 20, 2021

I went on a crossword binge in June of this year, and I suspect this happened then. Start in June (or maybe the first week of July at the latest, then work backwards?) and see if you don't find that week of tricky/gimmicky puzzles by new creators then?
posted by knucklebones at 11:41 PM on October 20, 2021

Response by poster: First full week of July looks similar but unfortunately that wasn’t it; it would have been a week I had done and I let it drop this past summer. I also think the layouts were significantly weirder.
posted by supercres at 11:49 PM on October 20, 2021

Best answer: Somehow happened upon it in the app completely by chance. (Well not completely, had an inkling it was toward the start of a streak and that this was a week that got me hooked.)

Will Shortz’s “never been done” week was the week of October 12, 2015– Wordplay blog here with some hints and spoilers.
posted by supercres at 12:37 AM on October 21, 2021 [9 favorites]

Response by poster: That sounds great! Adding it to my queue
posted by supercres at 10:28 AM on October 21, 2021

Response by poster: Also there's still a puzzle I'm thinking of where the clue directions go all over the place. I think it was something like: NW quadrant is normal, in the NE quadrant across answers are backwards, in SW down answers are backwards, and SE both are backwards. Please let me know if that sounds familiar!
posted by supercres at 10:32 AM on October 21, 2021

this one?

it was super tricky because it was a friday puzzle, but april fools prevails.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 10:42 AM on October 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Too early (before I got into it regularly), but I'm definitely going to do that one.

I think it was this one, though I misremembered the layout slightly.
posted by supercres at 10:49 AM on October 21, 2021

Hmm, i have a vague memory of your original description too but not enough to mount an effective search. Regardless, if you like playing with less spatially straightforward puzzles, check out the (free) wsj saturday variety puzzles. A good Rows Garden can be tough but fun.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 11:16 AM on October 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

If the above answer was too early, this will presumably not be right either, but you might enjoy it.
posted by dizziest at 4:37 PM on October 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

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