Shortz: For NYT, Crossword Is a Nine-letter Word for Revenue

mr.crossword03052010.gifIn a Q&A with the Hofstra Chronicle, New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz says his word games are a cash cow for the paper. What’s more, crosswords are among the few things that are necessarily better in print. Says Shortz:

For The Times, the crossword is the only same-day editorial matter in the newspaper that the website charges for. It costs $39.95 a year to subscribe to the crossword. More than 50,000 people have subscribed to the puzzle this way. So that’s a lot of money for the newspaper.


We fired up the four-function calculator to run the numbers, and that’s nearly $2 million. And that doesn’t include other revenue streams, like a 900-number clue line and puzzle spinoff books.

Shortz goes on to point out that digitization of crosswords isn’t a very valuable proposition, for the simple reason that they’re “more convenient to solve on paper.” He also dishes on Google’s impact on crosswords, how the youngsters are approaching puzzles and clues that have fallen out of favor in the crossword community. We highly recommend you check it out.

Thanks to Romenesko for pointing us to the story.