How Representatives Work: A Crossword Puzzle by The New York Times

Crossword puzzles are a popular and challenging form of entertainment that test the solver’s vocabulary, general knowledge, and logic skills. The New York Times is one of the most renowned sources of crossword puzzles, publishing a daily puzzle in its print edition and online, as well as a mini puzzle and a variety of other puzzles on its website and app.

One of the features of The New York Times crossword puzzles is that they often have a theme, a set of clues and answers that are related to a specific topic or concept. The theme can be revealed by a clue that explains the connection between the themed answers, or by a title that hints at the theme.

What is a Representative’s Work?

One example of a themed crossword puzzle by The New York Times is the one published on January 12, 2023, titled “Representative’s Work”. The title suggests that the theme has something to do with the work of a representative, which could mean a politician, a salesperson, an agent, or any other person who acts on behalf of someone or something else.

The clue for 17-Across reveals the theme: “Eccentric sort … or a ‘sport’ where one might make the plays at 19-, 27- and 44-Across?” The answer is AGENTING, which is a word that means “the activity or profession of being an agent”. The word is also a pun on the word “aging”, which is a common crossword clue for words that end with -ING.

The three clues that are referenced by 17-Across are:

  • 19-Across: “Creation (and rhyme) of 48-Across”. The answer is SEUSSICAL, which is a musical based on the works of Dr. Seuss, the famous children’s author and illustrator. Dr. Seuss is also the answer for 48-Across, which is clued as “13th or 15th days, on the Roman calendar”.
  • 27-Across: “Dance with a series of spins”. The answer is CHACHA, which is a Latin American dance that involves quick steps and turns. The word is also a homophone of the name of Cha Cha, a fictional character who is an assassin and a time-traveling agent in the Netflix series “The Umbrella Academy”.
  • 44-Across: “Play it by ear and all ears, e.g.”. The answer is IDIOMS, which are expressions that have a figurative meaning that is different from their literal meaning. The word is also an anagram of the name of Ido, a fictional character who is a cybernetics doctor and a former agent of the United Republic of Mars in the manga and film “Alita: Battle Angel”.

The theme of the puzzle is clever and creative, as it uses the word AGENTING in two different ways: as a noun that describes the work of a representative, and as a verb that implies the act of aging. The themed answers are also related to the word AGENTING, as they are either creations or characters that are associated with agents, or words that have a hidden or altered meaning, just like agents do.

How to Solve a Themed Crossword Puzzle

Solving a themed crossword puzzle can be more fun and rewarding than solving a regular crossword puzzle, as it adds an extra layer of challenge and discovery. However, it can also be more difficult, especially if the theme is obscure or complex.

Here are some tips on how to solve a themed crossword puzzle:

  • Look for the clues that reveal the theme. These clues are usually longer and more descriptive than the other clues, and they often reference other clues or answers in the puzzle. They can also be marked by asterisks, circles, or other symbols, or by a title that hints at the theme.
  • Try to fill in the themed answers first. These answers are usually longer and more prominent than the other answers, and they often span across multiple words or sections of the grid. They can also help you fill in the surrounding answers, as they provide more letters and crossings.
  • Use the theme to your advantage. Once you figure out the theme, you can use it to guess or confirm the other themed answers, as well as the other answers that are related to the theme. For example, if the theme is about movies, you can look for clues or answers that involve actors, directors, genres, titles, etc.
  • Don’t be afraid to check your answers. If you are stuck or unsure about an answer, you can use online tools or resources to check your answers, such as crossword solvers, dictionaries, encyclopedias, or websites that specialize in crossword puzzles. You can also use the hints or reveal options that are available on some crossword apps or websites. However, don’t rely too much on these tools, as they can take away the fun and satisfaction of solving the puzzle by yourself.


Crossword puzzles are a great way to exercise your brain, improve your vocabulary, and learn new things. Themed crossword puzzles are even more enjoyable, as they add an element of creativity and surprise to the puzzle. The New York Times is one of the best sources of themed crossword puzzles, as it offers a variety of puzzles that cater to different levels of difficulty and interest. One of its recent puzzles, titled “Representative’s Work”, is a perfect example of a themed crossword puzzle that is clever, challenging, and fun to solve. If you are a fan of crossword puzzles, you should definitely give it a try. You can find it on the website or app of The New York Times, or on other websites that feature crossword puzzles, such as,, or Happy solving!