At The NYT, the great crossword caper
March 7, 2016
People who work the crossword puzzle are a special breed. They’re diligent, smart and demand accuracy.
They’re the type of people who will carry out their own investigation when they come across perceived similarities in puzzles they’ve worked in different newspapers.
Indeed, that happened recently, as a group of puzzle devotees discovered what appears to be a case of plagiarism in the puzzle world.
The group found vast similarities between puzzles that first appeared in The New York Times and those that later ran in USA Today and were syndicated by Universal Crossword. The investigation flagged more than 60 puzzles, reports FiveThirtyEight.
The puzzles had an editor in common, puzzle master Timothy Parker. He’s a prolific puzzle creator whose work has appeared in papers ranging from The Boston Globe to The Baltimore Sun, and he’s the editor of both the USA Today and Universal Crossword.
Parker acknowledged the similarities between his works and those in The Times when asked about it by FiveThirtyEight, even admitting to using (unwittingly, he says) the same themes, but he denied any plagiarism had taken place.
Will Shortz, the well-known editor of The NYT crossword, doesn’t agree. He told The Times he believes the puzzles were plagiarized. The paper is currently looking into the matter. USA Today and Universal Uclick have not commented.
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