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e.g. 1225-09, 0704-10, 1025-10 etc.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to the questions most frequently asked:

This isn’t the puzzle in my paper! What should I do?
Your newspaper probably publishes the SYNDICATED New York Times crossword, whereas I do the crossword published in the actual New York Times. Don’t worry, you can find a link to my solution to today’s SYNDICATED New York Times crossword, right beneath today’s New York Times solution. Just click on it. If that doesn’t work, check out “How do I find your solution to my crossword?

On Monday through Saturday, the SYNDICATED crossword is actually the puzzle published in the New York Times five weeks earlier, and on Sunday, it is the puzzle from the previous weekend.

How do I find your solution to my crossword?

There are a number of ways to find your crossword:

  1. The links in each day’s post should get you to today’s puzzle in the New York Times, and to the SYNDICATED puzzle that’s published in all other papers.
  2. Each New York Times crossword has a 4-digit reference number, which most papers publish. You can enter this number in the “Search by Puzzle Number” box at the top of each page. This number is the month and date of original publication in the New York Times (MMDD). Unfortunately, the New York Times does not include the year, so this number repeats annually. You will get more than one crossword listed in the search results, but it’s easy to find which one you need. To help, I add the year (MMDD-YY) to the puzzle number when I publish it on the Blog
  3. You can search by date using the “Search by Date” box at the top of each page. Best results are obtained using the date format DD MMM YY, e.g. 12 Dec 10. Remember, when you find the post for a particular date, you will need to click on the SYNDICATED link if you are doing the crossword in a publication other than the New York Times.
  4. Sometimes newspapers drop the reference number or publish a crossword on the “wrong day”, but you can still find your puzzle. Type the wording of a couple of clues in either of the search boxes at the top of the page (by date or by puzzle number, it doesn’t matter), and this will pull up a short list of crosswords with those clues. Yours should be on that list.
  5. If all else fails, send me an email me at I reply promptly, and can almost always help you out.

What is the SYNDICATED crossword?
The SYNDICATED crossword is the name given to the New York Times puzzle published in publications other than the New York Times. The Times has an arrangement with other papers allowing them to use older New York Times crosswords. So, if you are doing a New York Times Crossword in your local paper, for example, the crossword you are seeing was published 5 weeks earlier in the New York Times itself, that is if it's a Monday through Saturday puzzle. The Sunday crossword in your local paper was published the week earlier in the New York Times. I include a link to today’s SYNDICATED New York Times crossword along with my commentary on today’s crossword published in the New York Times itself.

How are you so quick, publishing your solution before I even get my newspaper??!!
I subscribe to the New York Times online. The crossword is published online a few hours before it appears in the print edition. Actually, the crossword is available online at midnight Eastern Time during the work week, and at 8 p.m. Eastern Time at the weekends. I usually do the crossword some time in the evening and  have a “deadline” because the post has to be completed by 1 a.m. Pacific Time (4 a.m. Eastern Time). Meeting that deadline means that the post is ready for the mass-emailing to email subscribers, so that they have the solution waiting in their in-boxes each morning.

How long does it take you write up each puzzle?
After I’ve finished the crossword (hopefully I managed to finish!), I take about an hour to do lookups and write up things I hope will be of interest. It takes about another fifteen minutes to format and publish everything. I take about twice that time for the larger Sunday crossword. Although the Blog is all my own original work, I do copy and paste from previous posts where it makes sense. I mean, how much original material can one write about OREO cookies??!!

What happens if I give you my email address?
You don’t need to subscribe by email to get the full benefit from the Blog, but some people find it convenient to have an email delivered with the solution each morning. The email arrives about 4 a.m. Eastern Time and contains the same information that is already on the Blog, including a link to that day’s SYNDICATED New York Times crossword. The email address is kept confidential, and I do not use it for any purpose other than communicating with subscribers about crosswords. I use the most reputable email subscription service in the business, Feedburner (a Google subsidiary) who have given me a similar assurance of confidentiality.

How do I leave a comment?
If you wish to leave a public comment, click on the “Comments” link at the bottom of the post. I use a service called Blogger (a Google subsidiary), and by default you will be offered the opportunity to sign in using a user name or “identity”, should you have one. You don’t have to give any name at all, and can just press on the “Anonymous” button. Most people who leave an “anonymous” comment include a first name or nickname below the comment, just to be friendly, but it’s not necessary. If you want to comment, but not publicly, then you can send me an email me at I answer all emails, and usually within 24 hours.

Why are the last few letters on the bottom-right of the grid always shaded?
I pay for access to the New York Times crossword online, so I download the puzzle every evening into a crossword program called Across Lite, and solve it on my computer. When I am done, I take a "picture" of the finished puzzle on the screen and post it so that readers of the blog can see it everyday.

The problem is that Across Lite always highlights the space in the grid where I am typing an answer, so there will always be one answer shaded. I try to make it a little less distracting by always tabbing down to the last answer leaving the shading in the bottom right of the grid.

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About This Blog

This is the simplest of blogs.

I do the New York Times puzzle online every evening, the night before it is published in the paper. Then, I "Google & Wiki" the references that puzzle me, or that I find of interest. I post my findings, along with the solution, as soon as I am done, usually well before the newsprint version becomes available.

About Me

The name's William Ernest Butler, but please call me Bill. I grew up in Ireland, but now live out here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am retired, from technology businesses that took our family all over the world.

I try to answer all emails, so please feel free to email me at

Crosswords and My Dad

I worked on my first crossword puzzle when I was about 6-years-old, sitting on my Dad's knee. He let me "help" him with his puzzle almost every day as I was growing up. Over the years, Dad passed on to me his addiction to crosswords. Now in my early 50s, I work on my Irish Times and New York Times puzzles every day. I'm no longer sitting on my Dad's knee, but I feel that he is there with me, looking over my shoulder.

This blog is dedicated to my Dad, who passed away at the beginning of this month.

January 29, 2009

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