New York Times Creates Grinnell Themed Crossword
THE GRILL(E) – Waiting in line for a coffee in the morning, it is all too easy to notice the recent flock of students crowded around a table off in the corner. They’re not huddling around a screen as most millennials typically do—instead, they are furiously grappling for answers to the New York Times daily crossword.
“It’s a great way to get the brain juices flowing and connect with my wilder side,” crossword enthusiast Daria McKenzie ‘20 said. “If I’m feeling really daring, I’ll take it to class and work on it instead of paying attention or doodling or other mainstream activities.”
Mainstream or not, McKenzie isn’t alone. Over the past year, Grinnell has had to fififfle its subscription to the paper in order to meet the extreme demand for the crossword. The New York Times staff recently took notice of rural Iowa’s sudden intense demand for the paper and decided to express their gratitude by devoting the last five Sunday puzzles to Grinnell. All the clues relate, in some way, to Grinnell-specific cultural references and/or memetic characteristics.
Many may be aware that Sunday puzzles are notorious for their difficulty. While the typical Grinnellian would not have too hard a time piecing together “Red Pepper ____, “Self-Gov is _____”, or “I ___ my _____ spinner”, the rest of the paper’s readership across the rest of the country and the globe has seemed to hit an impasse with this particular puzzle.
“What the hell is a Grinnell?” New York real estate mogul Terry Burns tweeted out on Sunday afternoon after having been spotted carrying around the puzzle that morning. “‘Kum & What?!?’ I couldn’t answer a single question. And I’m no idiot!” With other clues such as “Fall Fest predecessor” (answer: tenten) and “Just call me Bob” (answer: Noyce) this puzzle had the general population up in arms.
In fact, research has found that the Grinnell-themed crosswords, and the surrounding controversy, have directly led to the 10% drop in subscriptions for the New York Times.
The nation’s premier crossword league, the Speed Solver’s Association, dubbed the puzzle the ‘Hardest of the decade.’ When asked for comment, the president of the Association said,
“I normally use a pen for Sunday puzzles, but one look at the clues and I busted out a pencil sharpener, a hot cup o Joe, and a 12 pack of Ticonderoga and started guessing.”