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Crossword Submission Guidelines - The New York Times


Crossword Submission Guidelines - The New York Times

Crossword Construction

Dave Fisher

New York Times Crossword Puzzle:

The New York Times looks for intelligent, literate, entertaining and well-crafted crosswords that appeal to the broad range of Times solvers. Editor: Will Shortz

Submissions accepted for:

  • Daily Crossword - 15x15
  • Sunday Crossword - 21x21
  • Sunday Crossword - 23x23
  • Diagramless Crossword - 17x17

In General:

  • 3-letter word minimum.
  • Puzzles must be symmetrical.
  • Emphasize lively words and names and fresh phrases.
  • Use of phrases from everyday writing and speech, whether or not they are in the dictionary, is encouraged.
  • Brand-names are acceptable if well-known nationally and are used in moderation.


Themes should be fresh, interesting, narrowly defined and consistently applied throughout the puzzle. If the theme includes a particular kind of pun, for example, than all the puns should be of that kind. Themes and theme entries should be accessible to everyone.


The clues in an ideal puzzle provide a well-balanced test of vocabulary and knowledge, ranging from classical subjects like literature, art, classical music, mythology, history, geography, etc., to modern subjects like movies, TV, popular music, sports and names in the news. Clues should be accurate, colorful and imaginative. Puns and humor are welcome.

Things to Avoid:

  • No two-letter words (keep three-letter words to a minimum)
  • No partial phrases longer than five letters
  • No unchecked letters
  • Keep foreign, obsolete, and variant forms to an absolute minimum

Maximum Word Counts:

  • 15x15 - 78 (72 for an unthemed)
  • 21x21 - 140
  • 23x23 - 170


  • Daily 15x15 - $200.00
  • Sunday 21x21 - $1,000.00
  • Sunday 23x23 - $1,000.00
  • Diagramless 17x17 - $150.00
  • Novelty Puzzle - $200.00 (varies according to type)


Times puzzles must never have been published anywhere before, either in print or electronically. The Times buys all rights, including first rights.

Where and How to Submit:

Use regular typing paper (8 1/2 x 11 in.). Type the clues double-spaced on the left (no periods after the numbers), answer words in a corresponding column on the far right. Give a source for any hard to verify word or information. Down clues need not begin on a new page. Include a filled-in answer grid with numbers and a blank grid with numbers (for the editor's use). Put your name and address on the two grid pages, and just your name on all other pages.

Submissions should be made directly to:

   Will Shortz, Crossword Editor
   The New York Times
   620 8th Ave.
   New York, NY 10018

Please include an email address (preferred) or a stamped return envelope for reply.

See Also:
Free New York Times Easy Crossword Puzzles (free)

The New York Times - Crosswords and Games (subscription fee required)

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