Cross finding the best crossword off your to-do list

Casey Braff

After buying Wordle, the word guessing game that has become increasingly popular during the past few months, the New York Times (NYT) has another game taking many by storm: The Daily Crossword. As an avid player of the NYT Crossword, I wanted to compare the other options there are to get my daily crossword fix.

Easily worth the $5 a month, The NYT Crossword has the best puzzles and variety. (Image courtesy of the New York Times)

The New York Times

The NYT crossword is simply the best. It is easy to use and has clues that are tricky without being impossible. The ability to check your puzzle as you go is definitely a bonus if you are like me and appreciate knowing if you’re doing it right. Many of the crosswords are themed with connecting clues and ideas, making it a lot more interesting. Additionally, it shows you stats of your average time and how your speed compares to the past crossword puzzles you’ve completed. The only downside is that to play the full-size crossword you need to pay $5 a month. The price is definitely worth it because the subscription gives you access to many other games within the NYT Games section. Additionally, you can go back and look at archives and replay old games. The Mini, which is a quick crossword that only takes a few minutes, is a great option if you don’t want to pay the subscription. Overall, the NYT crossword is my personal favorite and the best game if you’re willing to pay the price. 

Having the easiest questions, the USA Today crossword is a quick and unchallenging solve. (Image courtesy of USA Today)

Los Angeles Times 

The Los Angeles Times has a more difficult format which makes its crossword less fun to do. The most frustrating aspects are that you can accidentally delete letters you’ve already put down, and you can’t use auto-check. People who want to check as they go have to stop and check every time they fill out a square, which makes it take much longer to fill out. While the clues are definitely well thought out, some are too confusing or require really niche knowledge to complete them. It has the option to look at archives and do mini crosswords as well, and it also shows you a score and your time at the end so you can compare past times and scores if you want to. Another bonus is that it is free, but you have to watch ads if you play any crossword game unless you pay for a subscription.

USA Today

The USA Today crossword is perfect for a casual crossworder. The clues are simple and the crossword only takes a few minutes to complete. Personally, I prefer crossword puzzles that require a bit more brainpower that are a bit more complex, which made this crossword lower on the list for me. There are some other pitfalls as well. The interface makes it difficult to see the clues for the box that you are on, and it is also too easy to delete letters you’ve already put down (for comparison, the NYT doesn’t let you delete correct letters). It automatically auto-checks, so if you don’t want to auto-check, you can’t choose to turn it off. It is also free, but you do have to watch ads to play. 

In conclusion, the best crossword puzzle is definitely the New York Times. But, if you don’t want to pay, the LA Times and USA Today are both great options.