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The New York Times Games: Ranked


I’m sure most people are familiar with newspaper crossword puzzles, though not many teenagers read newspapers anymore. Fortunately, in an attempt to save this dying trend, one of the United States’ most popular newspapers, The New York Times, began to create free online games for the public to play in 1996. With each puzzle refreshing at midnight, players don’t have to rely on newspaper deliveries to fulfill their daily challenges. Among 8 different games to choose from, we’ve ranked each game in terms of our personal interest, so you know which to spend your time on. So without further ado, here are The New York Times Games: Ranked.


“Connections” is a unique word puzzle where players group four words sharing a common theme. With four categories in total, there are different themes for each one, all of which must be found by discovering common connections between four words. However, players must be cautious in submitting their guesses since they only have four mistakes to spare before losing. Luckily, with four different themes each day to keep players engaged, it has become a fan favorite, even more so than the classic “Wordle” with its stimulating and new content every day, giving “Connections” the honor of the rank #1.


“Wordle” is a well-known classic where players find an unknown five-letter word. With only six available guesses before losing, players should be mindful of each word they guess, eventually getting closer to the chosen answer. Fortunately, players receive helpful hints in the form of colored tiles meant to indicate whether the letter occupies the right position. “Wordle” is typically a fun game that is not too difficult or boring for players, being the perfect blend of entertaining and stimulating, ranking it as a close second to “Connections” at #2.


“The Mini” is a smaller version of “The Crossword,” where it is simply just an ordinary crossword puzzle. With vague or annoyingly obvious hints, players typically finish “The Mini” quite quickly compared to “The Crossword” and the other New York Times games. Unfortunately, quite a few hints are sometimes frustratingly difficult. This stumps players from finishing the game by either sheer confusion or the domino effect of messing up other answers. Despite the occasional confusion, “The Mini” shows that one cannot go wrong with a classic crossword puzzle, ranking the game at a solid #3.


“Letter Boxed” is a challenging puzzle where players must connect letters around a square to spell words. Although this may sound simple, it comes with difficult rules. All letters must be used to complete the game in a suggested number of words, however, it is not required to finish it in this amount of words. Additionally, words must be at least three letters long to count, with the last letter of each word being the starting letter of the next word. Another difficulty players must abide by is that consecutive letters must not be from the same side of the square, making the game all the more puzzling to solve. Although “Letter Boxed” does require quite a bit of creative and complex thinking from players to win, once one gets accustomed to the rules of the game, it becomes less complicated and more amusing to play. Therefore, “Letter Boxed” earns the ranking of #4!


“Strands” is relatively new due to its recent launch on March 4, 2024. Similar to “Connections,” “Strands” has its answers linked under a common theme. “Strands” can best be described as a complicated word search. With the ability for players to connect letters in any direction without the confinement of a straight line, the “Strands” puzzle can be difficult to solve. Should the game be exceptionally difficult, players have the ability to earn a hint after finding three unrelated words in the puzzle (words which do not match the theme). Unfortunately, “Strands” is a flop for us, as it can be either extremely difficult or boring, hence its ranking of 5th place.


“Spelling Bee” is a game of making words out of letters. With 6 letters arranged in a honeycomb shape around a central letter, players must string letters together to form words, with the ability to repeat letters (unlike “Strands”). Easy, right? Not so much. The catch is that every word must contain the central letter, which can make the game frustrating. Overall, “Spelling Bee” isn’t as engaging as others, so we rank it at #6.


“Tiles” is less a game, more a mind-clearing activity. However, if you wish to pursue inner zen rather than a brain exercise, this one’s for you! Each day the puzzle refreshes with new tiles, but within each tile contains a unique combination of characteristics. For example, one tile may contain a yellow background, a star in the corner, and a square in the middle, while another tile may contain the same yellow background, but differ in its other characteristics. The purpose of this game is to match tiles with at least one similar characteristic to make them disappear. As the game progresses, the goal is to match each characteristic to a similar tile, until all tiles are blank. With this, a streak of correct pairings is formed, but can instantly be broken by a wrong match. All in all, this game is not as thrilling or challenging as the others, giving “Tiles” a rank of No. 7.


“Vertex” is a game of connecting the dots. With the end goal of creating an image, the dots are provided with the amount of times the dots can connect to another dot. Perhaps the game would be more fun if the players had the ability to color in the shapes created from connecting the dots- but once lines are formed, the game automatically fills the shapes in with color. Unfortunately, we don’t find ourselves excited for the daily “Vertex” puzzle, and would not recommend it at all.

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