How often do you sync my puzzle solves?

Every day, once a day, we will sync your most recent 3 days of crossword solves automatically. If you are solving older puzzles you will need to sync them manually from the Calendar or Profile views. Navigate to the day/month you want to sync and either click on the blank day or click "Sync Entire Month" to grab your solve data.

How do you get access to my New York Times account?

Once you sign up for XW Stats, you'll need to link your New York Times account from the Profile view. You'll need to provide your NYT email address and password. We do not save this email or password. Instead, we issue a one-time login using this information and save a login cookie so we can fetch solve information in the future. This cookie is good for 1 year; you'll need to do the NYT linking process again after a year. Don't worry, we'll remind you.

I don't have a password to the New York Times

If you log in to the New York Times crossword app using a social provider like Google or Apple you will need to create a password for your NYT account. From the New York Times website or app, click on Forgot Password, and enter the email you use for your NYT crosswords. You'll receive an email that will allow you to create a password. You will still be able to log in to the NYT Crossword app using your social provider if you want, but you will need to use this newly created password to connect your account to XW Stats.

What are these blue and gold stars?

A gold star on XW Stats is slightly different than one on the NYT app. A gold star on XW Stats indicates that you completed the entire puzzle without revealing or checking any squares. It does not matter if you complete the puzzle on the same day it is released. A blue star means you completed the puzzle but had to reveal or check at least one square.

What is an "Adjusted Solve Time"?

Adjusted solve time is your actual solve time plus some penalties for checking or revealing squares. Think of it similar to an "adjusted words per minute" in typing speed. Specifically, the time is calculated by taking your actual solve time and adding each of the following:

  • one-time 20% time penalty for needing to check/reveal the puzzle
  • 60 seconds per square revealed, backing off a bit for each reveal
  • 30 seconds per square checked, backing off a bit for each check

Since you're likely a stats nerd like me, here's the actual formula being used where T is the actual time taken, C is the number of squares checked, and R is the number of squares revealed.

adjusted solve time formula

How are the average solve times calculated?

Average solve times are actually rolling averages for that day of the week. Since puzzle solve times are likely to vary by day and over time, we use a 10 day rolling average to compute your average solve time for a given day. For example, the average solve time on a random Saturday would be the average of the 10 previous Saturday solve times before that. If you're getting better, you'll notice your average solve times decreasing over time.

How are the puzzle difficulties calculated?

A puzzle's difficulty on the puzzle page is determined by looking at the median solver's performance on that puzzle. However much faster or slower that user solved the puzzle compared to their personal 10-week rolling average time on that day is then compared to the median solvers for every puzzle for the past year. The slowest 10% are considered Very Hard, the fastest 10% are considered Very Easy. The next 20% slowest and fastest are considered Hard and Easy, respectively. The middle 40% are considered Average.

This can sometimes be confusing if the puzzle's statistics appear to tell one story but the difficulty says otherwise. For example, a puzzle where the median solver solved 15% faster than their average would actually be considered an Average difficulty puzzle, not an Easy one. This is true because of one simple, yet interesting, fact: solvers normally solve faster than their 10-week rolling average. In other words, more often than not, a solver will solve a puzzle faster than their average time for that day of the week. Therefore, a puzzle where 60% of users solved faster than their average is actually pretty middle of the road when it comes to puzzle difficulty.

How do you rank the constructors?

On the Constructors view you will see how you have performed for different crossword constructors/authors over time. The numbers you see on that page are personalized to your solve performances. You will tend to solve certain constructors' puzzles faster than others. Each of your solves is compared against your rolling average for that day and then that value is averaged by constructor. The result is a ranking of constructors whose puzzles you consistenly solve faster or slower than average. Only constructors that you have solved several times (at least 2 or 3 times depending on how many solves you have) are considered for this ranking.

Where are all of my past solves?

When you sign up, XW Stats will only grab the past 2 months of solve data. If you have been solving the NYT crossword longer than that, good for you! You can sync all of your solves from the Profile view or manually sync specific dates from the Calendar view.

I also solve the [other crossword app] crossword. Can I see stats for that?

Right now XW Stats only supports for the New York Times crossword, but other providers are planned to be added. Send us an email ([email protected]) and let us know which provider you'd like to see support for.

I have so many questions

You and me both. If you need more help or have a question that's not covered here shoot us a note at [email protected] and we'll get back to you. Hint: donating gets you priority support 😉