Analysis of representation in crossword puzzles

For The Pudding, Michelle McGhee analyzed representation in crossword puzzles. Some crossword publications do better than others.

As of December 2019, The USA Today puzzle is edited by Erik Agard, a 27-year old crossword champ who told me, “bringing some balance on the representation front is something I actively try to do.” A prominent crossword blogger called USA Today’s puzzle “the most interesting, innovative, and provocative daily crossword” out right now. Let’s take a look at how USA Today, and other publications, are taking a puzzle that’s been called too old, too white, too male, and changing it up.

The story also comes with playable, data-generated puzzles so that you can feel the difference over decades.

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