The New York Times crossword puzzle is a daily puzzle published in The New York Times. We are excited here at freedailycrosswords to bring you these puzzles for free daily. You can now visit us daily to Play the New York Times Crosswords.
While crosswords became popular in the early 1920s, it was not until 1942 that The New York Times 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 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 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.