The New York Times announced today that it is cutting off access to its popular crosswords for third-party apps. Previously, the Times made its crosswords available in .puz files in the Across Lite puzzle format. These could be used in a variety of third-party crossword applications.
The announcement was made in a post today by editor Everdeen Mason, who explained that the change will “streamline” the process for editors. It will make this change starting August 10:
Starting Aug. 10, we will no longer support crossword play on Across Lite. This means we won’t provide downloadable .puz files for use on that platform. You can play the NYT crossword on our Crossword App and on desktop and mobile web.
Thank you for supporting our team as we improve and streamline our processes to allow our editors to do what they love best: edit fun puzzles our community submits to us.
As noted by Jason Snell at Six Colors, this change will mean that you will only be able to play Times crosswords on the Times website and in the dedicated New York Times Crossword app for iPhone and iPad. It will also have an impact on users who rely on third-party applications to make the crosswords more accessible.
One of the most popular third-party crossword applications is Red Sweater’s Black Ink, which is available on Mac and iOS. Black Ink supports opening any puzzle file designed for the Across Lite puzzle format, including New York Times crosswords. Once it stops providing its crosswords in Across Lite format, this will no longer be possible.