People will no longer be able to play the digital version of The New York Times daily crossword puzzle in third-party apps, according to an announcement made by the Times on Monday. Starting August 10th, the crossword will be available digitally only via the NYT site or on its own crossword app. Downloadable PDFs, in addition to the physical newspaper, will still be available for people who want to print and play.
Until now, crosswords were available in the Across Lite .puz file format, so anyone with a Times games subscription could download a puzzle and open it in the desktop or mobile app of their choice. The change applies not just to future puzzles but to the archive of puzzles that are currently in the .puz format.
Everdeen Mason, editorial director of games at the Times, said on Twitter that she made the decision to end .puz support in an effort to build something where editors can “edit and make games rather than adapt things for tools we can’t control.”
Some crossword solvers are peeved about the change. According to XWord Blog, a site for crossword enthusiasts, speed solvers and people who parse .puz files for puzzle analysis will likely be hit the hardest. Some people with low vision have mentioned that the Times’ official crossword app doesn’t work well with screen readers, which will hopefully be addressed as third-party options disappear.