The Coolest Crossword of All Time

In 1996, just a day before the election of the 40th President of US, the New York Times published a curious crossword. In the 8th row, the solver should discover a phrase – the “lead story of tomorrow’s newspaper”. More precisely – the name of the future President of the country appears there. But how could New York Times know whether it was going to be Clinton or Bob Dole?


1. “___ your name” (Mamas and Papas lyric)
6. Fell behind slightly
15. Euripides tragedy
16. Free
17. Forecast
19. Be bedridden
20. Journalist Stewart
21. Rosetta ???
22. 1960s espionage series
24. ___ Perigion
25. Qulting party
26. “Drying out” program
28. Umpire’s call
30. Tease
34. Tease
36. Standard
38. “The Tell-Tale Heart” writer
39. Lead story in tomorrow’s newspaper, with 43A
43. See 39A
45. Gold: Prefix
46. ___ Lee cakes
48. Bobble the ball
49. Spanish aunts
51. Obi
53. Bravery
57. Small island
59. Daddies
61. Theda of 1917’s “Cleopatra”
62. Employee motivator
65. Otherworldly
67. Treasure hunter’s aid
68. Title for 39A next year
71. Exclusion from social events
72. Fab Four name
73. They may get tied up in knots
74. Begin, as a maze


1. Disable
2. Cherry-colored
3. Newspaperman Ochs
4. Easel part
5. Actress Turner
6. Ropes, as dogies
7. Place to put your feet up
8. Underskirt
9. First of three-in-a-row
10. Lower in public estimation
11. Onetime bowling alley employee
12. Threesome
13. English prince’s school
14. ’60s TV talk-show host Joe
18. Superannuated
23. Sewing shop purchase
25. TV’s Uncle Miltie
27. Short writings
29. Opponent
31. Likely
32. Actress Caldwell
33. End of the English alphabet
35. Trumpet
37. Ex-host Griffin
39. Black Halloween animal
40. French 101 word
41. Provider of support, for short
42. Much debated political inits
44. Sourpuss
47. Malign
50. “La Nausee” novelist
52. Sheiks’ cliques
54. Bemoan
55. Popsicle color
56. Bird of prey
58. 10 on a scale of 1 to 10
60. Family girl
62. Famous ___
63. Something to make on one’s birthday
64. Regarding
65. Quite a story
66. Dublin’s land
69. ___ Victor
70. Hullabaloo

The answer is simple, yet very impressive. The crossword’s author, the mathematics professor Jeremiah Farrell, created the puzzle so that it could be solved in two different ways, revealing either “Clinton Elected” or “Bob Dole Elected” in the middle row. Many of the newspaper’s readers didn’t realize the prank and assumed New York Times was displaying a bias towards one of the candidates. They started sending lots of angry letters and calling the editor, complaining about arguably the coolest crossword of all time.

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