I have long been enamored with the boundlessness of english. It’s why I’ll often write sentences as long and overbearing as the previous one.
There’s so much fun to be had inside of this kooky, horribly organized language. I uncover days’ worth of pleasure isolating the exactly “perfect word” for a given situation. But, I also love finding words outside of their natural habitat, using adjectives atypically.
It’s like an ongoing mental sport, to constantly be flipping through the index cards of vocabulary behind my eyes. What new way can I use “immaculate” today? I might ask myself. Further, I’ve been waiting for my chance to use “penumbra” for years.
The adolescent joy of using big and weird words was derived from a sad ambition to not only be smart, but for people to think I’m smart. I did Quiz Bowl in high school, I really loved Cash Cab, I had a neon yellow Star Wars t-shirt. Absorbing and fulfilling the role of “nerd” was not only easy, but also a requirement for me. It is also along these lines that I considered myself an atheist in high school. My alignment for what people consider “smart” was not quite right.
There is one thing, though, that I will never regret from this time, and that is discovering the New York Times Crossword.
My first venture into the Crossword came during a horribly misguided attempt to put iPads into my high school classrooms. I had this one that came in a black case; it made me look like the professional I thought I was at “looking like I was doing something without really doing anything.”
I found this app that let you fill the crossword, and could tell you if you were right or wrong immediately. Latin class took a turn for the worse at this development. Soon, that iPad broke and I left the crossword for a bit.
In the summer of 2016, I did very little. Yet, I made my first infantile steps back into the grid landscape, downloading the official NYT Crossword app. I think I started on a Sunday.
And look. I knew that shoulder onlookers and peers alike would see me doing the crossword and make assumptions about me. Be they positive of negative. Some small part of me is still motivated to do it every day to validate my own intelligence, to “still got it” my knack for mentally hopping from cerebral fold of knowledge to cerebral fold of knowledge.
For years now, I’ve done everything a modern cruciverbalist might. I’ve opened my phone to do the Daily, I’ve gotten groups of friends together to shout out answers to clues, I’ve obnoxiously scoffed at people who take more than thirty seconds to complete the Daily Mini.
Only now have I taken on the task of creating a crossword though. Which, I must say, is way harder than I was expecting, but feeds just as much into my adoration of finding the right word, right angles, and being as damn clever as possible.
You can find it by clicking the button below. Feel free to print it out or scribble on the PDF.
EDIT 1: Clues for 59 and 60 down:
59 “Booker, McConnell, Schumer, etc.”
60 “The Holy _____”
EDIT 2: I put the wrong version of the crossword PDF in this post. It has been updated.
Ideally, anybody from a daily grid grinder to a total crossword noob can take this and complete it. It has been done mostly in the style of the New York Times daily crossword, so if you’ve done that a lot you’ll catch some common motifs. If you’ve never done the Crossword, allow me to introduce you to those motifs.
Indulge my lesser traits. You already are by clicking toward my website in the first place :)
Some parting thoughts I have about solving crosswords, especially in the NYT Crossword app:
It is perfectly allowed to google things you might not know. Some people may see this as cheating. I most certainly do not. The joy in finding out what the crossword maker has weaved into their creation for you would be lost entirely if you remained stuck on a word forever, and decided to give up because The Man said you can’t google crossword answers. That being said, plenty of these clues might be ungoogleable.
Checking whether you’re right is perfectly fine. In the case of the app, there’s a built in feature for that. In this case, feel free to email or message me to see if some of the words you have down are correct.
This is definitely not the best crossword ever, but it’s my first and I’m proud of it.
If you’re overwhelmed by the blank space and thing you could never do this: 1. you can, 2. start by going down the Across clues and writing answers you think you might have on a separate sheet of paper, without even accounting for word length. Your brain is better than you think it is, and you’ll probably be in the ballpark.
The more crosswords you do, the better you get at them.
If you finish it, let me know. I’d love to see your finished grid.