Whichever NYT: How to Solve the New York Times Crossword Puzzle

The New York Times crossword puzzle is one of the most popular and challenging word games in the world. It is published daily in the newspaper and online, and attracts millions of solvers every year. But how do you solve it? What are the tips and tricks to crack the clues and fill in the grid? In this article, we will explore some of the strategies and techniques that can help you master the NYT crossword puzzle.

Know the Rules

The first thing to know about the NYT crossword puzzle is that it follows some basic rules. These rules are not explicitly stated, but they are generally accepted by the crossword community. Here are some of the most important ones:

  • The puzzle is symmetrical. This means that the grid looks the same if you flip it horizontally or vertically. This can help you find some of the answers by looking at the opposite side of the grid.
  • The puzzle has a theme. This means that some of the answers are related to a common topic or idea. The theme can be revealed by the title of the puzzle, or by a special clue that explains the connection. For example, the title of the puzzle on March 2, 2021 was “Whichever”, and the theme was that the answers to some of the clues could be either of two words. For instance, the clue for 17-Across was “Not play it by ear”, and the answer was EITHER READ OR MEMORIZE.
  • The puzzle has a difficulty level. This means that the puzzle gets harder as the week goes on. The easiest puzzle is on Monday, and the hardest puzzle is on Saturday. The Sunday puzzle is usually somewhere in between, but it is larger and has a more elaborate theme. The difficulty level affects the type and quality of the clues and answers. For example, the clues on Monday are usually straightforward and literal, while the clues on Saturday are more cryptic and clever.
  • The puzzle has a style. This means that the puzzle follows some conventions and preferences that are specific to the NYT crossword puzzle. For example, the puzzle avoids using obscure or outdated words, abbreviations, or slang. The puzzle also tries to avoid repeating words or letters in the grid. The puzzle also has some common crossword words that appear frequently, such as OREO, ALOE, or ERIE. These words are sometimes called crosswordese, and they can help you fill in some of the blanks.

Use the Crosses

The second thing to know about the NYT crossword puzzle is that it is a cross-word puzzle. This means that the answers to the clues intersect with each other, forming a grid of letters. This can help you solve the puzzle by using the crosses, or the letters that you already have in the grid. For example, if you have the letter E in the first position of a four-letter word, you can eliminate some of the possible answers that do not start with E. You can also use the crosses to confirm or reject your guesses. For example, if you think that the answer to a clue is CAT, but the letter C does not match with the cross, you can rule out CAT as a possible answer.

Using the crosses is one of the most effective and essential techniques for solving the NYT crossword puzzle. It can help you narrow down the choices and find the correct answers. However, using the crosses also requires some caution and flexibility. Sometimes, the crosses can be misleading or ambiguous. For example, the letter S can be either singular or plural, depending on the clue. Sometimes, the crosses can be wrong or incomplete. For example, you might have made a mistake in another part of the grid, or you might not have enough letters to determine the answer. In these cases, you need to be willing to change your mind and try different options until you find the right one.

Think Outside the Box

The third thing to know about the NYT crossword puzzle is that it is a creative and playful game. This means that the puzzle can surprise you with some of the clues and answers. Sometimes, the clues can have more than one meaning, or they can use wordplay, puns, anagrams, homophones, or other tricks to mislead or amuse you. For example, the clue for 24-Down on March 2, 2021 was “Are you awake response”, and the answer was IM UP. The clue can be interpreted as either a question or a statement, and the answer can be either a verb or an adjective. Sometimes, the answers can have unusual or unexpected forms, such as abbreviations, acronyms, symbols, numbers, or foreign words. For example, the answer to the clue “Whichever” on March 2, 2021 was EITHER or ANY, which are both valid words, but not the ones you might expect.

Thinking outside the box is one of the most fun and rewarding aspects of solving the NYT crossword puzzle. It can challenge your mind and test your knowledge and vocabulary. It can also make you laugh and smile when you discover the clever or witty solutions. However, thinking outside the box also requires some patience and curiosity. Sometimes, the clues can be too vague or obscure, or they can refer to something that you are not familiar with. In these cases, you need to be open-minded and willing to learn new things or look for hints from other sources.

Enjoy the Process

The fourth and final thing to know about the NYT crossword puzzle is that it is a enjoyable and satisfying activity. This means that the puzzle can provide you with a sense of accomplishment and pleasure when you complete it. Solving the NYT crossword puzzle can also improve your mental skills, such as memory, logic, and problem-solving. It can also enrich your cultural and general knowledge, as well as your vocabulary and spelling. Solving the NYT crossword puzzle can also be a social and interactive experience, as you can share your thoughts and insights with other solvers, or ask for help when you are stuck.

Enjoying the process is the ultimate goal and benefit of solving the NYT crossword puzzle. It can make you feel happy and proud of yourself, as well as entertained and educated. However, enjoying the process also requires some balance and moderation. Sometimes, the puzzle can be too easy or too hard, or it can be frustrating or boring. In these cases, you need to remember that the puzzle is not a test or a competition, but a game and a hobby. You need to respect your own pace and preferences, and not compare yourself with others. You need to appreciate the challenge and the opportunity, and not take it too seriously or personally.


The NYT crossword puzzle is a fascinating and fun game that can stimulate your brain and delight your soul. It can also be a daunting and difficult task that can confuse your mind and annoy your spirit. The key to solving the NYT crossword puzzle is to know the rules, use the crosses, think outside the box, and enjoy the process. By following these tips and techniques, you can improve your skills and confidence, and become a better and happier solver. Whichever NYT crossword puzzle you choose to tackle, we hope that you have a great time and a great result. Happy solving!