There’s good news for aspiring and established crossword constructors out there, as The New York Times crossword is now accepting online submissions.
I could be cynical and say it’s about time for a change like this, given that The Los Angeles Times has been accepting online submissions for at least a decade now, and many of the other major outlets made the transition well before 2020.
But I won’t. This is a moment worth celebrating.
True, it was inevitable that the Times would move in this direction. I don’t know if the tipping point was the pandemic, given how many other companies and businesses have been forced to adapt to a paperless/lower-contact way of doing business, or if the department was simply following a directional shift the industry had already taken.
But I’m glad they have. This may seem like a relatively small change, but it’s significant for several reasons.
1.) It’s simply easier
People send emails, attach documents, and share files every day. How often do you hit the post office?
2.) Electronic submission encourages younger solvers to get involved
New blood is a necessity for any industry, crosswords included, and when the standard-bearer makes a shift toward inclusivity (even if it’s just a matter of technological familiarity), it’s a step in the right direction.
3.) Electronic submission helps level the playing field
Having to mail submissions has a price attached, through envelopes, paper, and postage, whereas electronic submissions don’t. Yes, the price of crossword construction programs is still a hindrance, limiting access to some, but again, this is a step in the right direction.
The submission page is loaded with information, including specs on puzzles, file formats for submission, and the submission form itself.
Plus NYT-savvy constructors and staff like Joel Fagliano have already posted answers online to Frequently Asked Questions in forums like the Crossword Puzzle Collaboration Directory, and have offered to answer any other questions constructors have.
Hopefully this change means not only an influx of new talent, but greater accessibility for underrepresented groups in crosswords.
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