“THE SPIRAL PUZZLE IS ONLINE,” the note helpfully says at the bottom of the Sunday NYT crossword.
Yeah, but you have to pay for it.
I realize that the NYT Sunday Magazine editors would argue that you’re still getting two puzzles in the magazine each week: the crossword and KenKen. But for word puzzlers like myself, KenKen is no substitution for the acrostic, cryptic crossword, diagramless and other letter-based games I looked forward to each week.
By putting the second puzzle in the paid premium package, the NYT is insulting all the loyal puzzlers who have already paid up to $6 for the Sunday paper. So it’s not like I’m bemoaning once-free content that is now paid; this was content that I did pay for, and now I’m being asked to pay for it twice.
This may not have been Will Shortz’s idea, but he’s going to be getting the heat for it. The ad execs at the magazine have to see the second puzzle as a revenue generator, not a space sucker; people BUY the magazine for it, and they SEE the ads that run with it.
And why was the acrostic free last week? Is the Spiral puzzle a paid enigma because Shortz himself designed it? Or is it just a test to see how many people will download a free puzzle vs. a paid one? I think I know the answer to that question.
Questions or comments? Twitter me @crosswordkathy