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I see "solving" the puzzle as something that happens without Googling. Otherwise, there would be no such thing a Natick, and contructors and editors could and would defend any obscure crossing with "hey, you could have just Googled it!"


"C"-When I Google, I consider it a DNF. It is only a last resort, I feel like I've learned something, and the time doesn't count. It's not unethical; it is a personal choice whether or not to Google, but when a person makes that choice, they didn't finish the puzzle on their own. As to checking the dictionary, if I verify something I put in on my own and I don't change anything after the check, I still finished on my own (and learned a new word), and consequently increased my time.


I think crosswords are for fun, so googling is fine if it makes them more fun for you. For me, using Google would make the puzzle less fun, so I don't do it. However, if you're competing against others for best time, I think it should be clear among all whether or not googling is okay. (Couldn't decide which letter to pick - I've always been terrible at multiple choice!)


I would say b. If I ever google I consider it that I have given up. I would rather stare at it until it comes. My father, who turned me on to crosswords, said that you can only use that day's edition of the NyTimes for reference. It was good for sports teams but little else. I really hate when i am playing Words With Friends with a random opponent and I just know they are cheating. Yes, I am talking about you, DartG341


How can it be cheating to use a dictionary or google if the New York Times publishes its own crossword dictionary? If they didn't want you to "cheat" they wouldn't have published one now would they?

Jeremy Mercer

Should have proofread first : I had a 'than' instead of a 'then' - (then you should try ...) and an 'about' instead of an 'above' - 'above the 8 ...'

Jeremy Mercer

I would go with b) here. Solving the puzzle is an intimate act, to each their own. As Pierre Trudeau said, the government has no place in the bedrooms of the nation. But, the second you decide to put your puzzle times into competition than you should try to follow the commonly accepted rules of the game.

And this was the basis of my query about dictionary checking words mid-solve. It seems to me the accepted rules of the game are unclear, at least to me. What is the honor code of solvers when competing for the fast time on the Times site? Or, for that matter, what is the concrete code for tournaments like the ACPT?

Personally, I don't care what others do, but I want to try to play the game at the highest level. For example, I refuse to glance at the keyboard when a clue is something like 'It's about the 8' (ASTERISK) because I figure that wouldn't be kosher at the Olympics of crosswording if such a thing existed ...

Ellen Schwartz

What they said. If I'm out walking my dog, and he gets interested in the dog down the block, I point at the ground and say "DOWN" and he lies down, I'm happy and the neighbors are happy. In the show ring it's a double command and I'm, I don't know, barred from competition for life, or publicly flogged or something. So, what we're doing here isn't the ACPT. I dictionary-check my answers, or Goggle them, or check for wrong letters, or whatever it takes to get the rest of the answers. Why should I get all huffy if someone else does the same? As long as my dog doesn't run away.

Richard Bell

I agree with the first commenter that this is not an ethical issue since no other person is put at a disadvantage. If it were a competition, then, yes, Googling might be unfair, but not in this case where the puzzle is being solved purely for recreation.

Joan B

Oops! I meant google away. Sometimes I hate auto spell!

Joan B

D. It's not an ethics issue. Who's to say the other solvers don't also use google? IMO crosswords are for fun and occasional enlightenment. Google easy! You might learn something new.

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