For decades, we have collected tens of thousands of clues and publications from Saul Pwanson`s crossword corpus. Then we manually tagged each person`s race and gender after searching for them. For the purposes of this analysis, we categorized individuals according to the categories of the U.S. Census. We believe that the boundaries between races and genders are social constructs, and their precise delimitations are moving objectives without unanimous consent. We recognize that this is an imperfect method, but that does not change our observation: crossword puzzles are dominated by men of European origin who reserve little room for all others. Look at a more detailed methodology. One way to do this is for more people to make and solve crossword puzzles. These are the people who are most frequently referenced in the NYT crossword responses. Why did Shenk and I put the two CONTRAVENE up and COBRA VENOM on the bottom? Imagine a cheese tasting where you`ll start with the sweetest cheese and build up to the most striking cheese. The principle is the same here: people tend to solve crossword puzzles from top to bottom, so we both decided to lead with the contravene (a half boring word that inserts the half boring keyword in the sense) and end up with the super COBRA VENOM (snakes are very cool creatures , the more unexpectedly the keyword is shared). Agard wanted to bring the experience of transgender people (if a transgender person wants testosterone hormone therapy, she could describe this therapy as “on T”). THE USA Today Puzzle is full of clues like this, which undermine the norm and highlight new people and experiences.
Agard attributes this to its vast team of puzzle designers who bring a multitude of perspectives and ideas. (Alarm spoiler: If you want to solve one or both of these puzzles before you see the grid completely solved below, you should stop reading here. Here`s a JPEG of my puzzle, and here`s a PDF of Mike Shenk. Fyi, you don`t have to solve the puzzles to read the rest of this room.) Not like mine and Shenk, but it`s still pretty close. Reagle left with six themed entries instead of five, four of which were the same as mine: CONTRAVENE, COBRA VENOM, VENTNOR AVENUE and BRAVE NEW WORLD.