If you are looking for a fun and challenging way to exercise your brain, you might want to try the New York Times Mini Crossword. This is a small crossword puzzle that usually has a 5×5 grid and no more than 10 clues. You can find it online, on the NYT app, or in the print edition of the newspaper.
The Mini Crossword is designed to be solved in a few minutes, making it ideal for a quick break or a warm-up for the larger puzzles. However, don’t be fooled by its size. The Mini Crossword can be tricky and sometimes requires you to think outside the box.
In this article, we will share some tips and tricks on how to solve the Mini Crossword, using the example of the puzzle from January 12, 2023. The theme of this puzzle was “Crunch time at the gym”, and the answer to the clue “Crunch time at the gym?” was ABDAY.
Tip 1: Start with the Easiest Clues
One of the best strategies for solving any crossword puzzle is to start with the easiest clues, the ones that you are most confident about. This will help you fill in some letters and get a foothold on the grid. You can also use the length of the answer and the position of the black squares to narrow down the possibilities.
For example, in the Mini Crossword from January 12, 2023, you might start with the clue “One function of a phone’s Camera app” (4 letters). The answer is most likely SNAP, since it fits the length and the pattern of the grid. You can then use the letter S to help you with the clue “Places to dock boats” (5 letters), which is probably SLIPS.
Tip 2: Look for Common Crossword Words
Another useful tip is to look for common crossword words, the ones that appear frequently in puzzles because they have a lot of vowels, consonant-vowel patterns, or useful letters. Some examples of common crossword words are AREA, OREO, ALOE, ERIE, and ELI.
These words can help you crack the clues that are more obscure or vague. For instance, in the Mini Crossword from January 12, 2023, you might not know the answer to the clue “We have two “so we can listen twice as much as we speak,” in a saying” (4 letters), but you can guess that it is EARS, since it is a common crossword word and it fits the grid.
Tip 3: Use Wordplay and Trivia Knowledge
Sometimes, the clues in the Mini Crossword are not straightforward, but rather use wordplay, puns, double meanings, or trivia knowledge. You have to think creatively and flexibly to figure out the answers. For example, in the Mini Crossword from January 12, 2023, the clue “Crunch time at the gym?” (5 letters) is not asking for a time of day or a duration, but rather for a body part that is often targeted by crunches, which is the ABDAY.
Similarly, the clue “Smoke an e-cigarette” (4 letters) is not looking for a verb, but for a noun that describes the act of smoking an e-cigarette, which is VAPE. The clue “Many holiday presents for dogs” (5 letters) is not referring to gifts, but to the verb tense that indicates the present time, which is ARE.
Tip 4: Check Your Work and Don’t Give Up
Finally, a good tip is to check your work and don’t give up. Sometimes, you might make a mistake or get stuck on a clue, but that doesn’t mean you can’t solve the puzzle. You can always erase or change your answers, or use the hints or reveal options if you need some help. The Mini Crossword is meant to be fun and rewarding, not frustrating and discouraging.
Remember, practice makes perfect. The more you solve the Mini Crossword, the more you will improve your vocabulary, spelling, logic, and general knowledge. You will also develop a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment every time you complete the puzzle.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your pen, your phone, or your computer, and get ready for some crunch time at the gym with the NYT Mini Crossword. You can do it!