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Ranking the Best New York Times Games


I don’t know about you, but I am an avid player of the New York Times games. My streak on Wordle is over 100 days, and after tackling the daily word, I try to complete a few of the other games every single day. Sometimes my friends and I even make it a competition to see who can complete it faster, or, depending on the game, with fewer mistakes. With these credentials, I think I am a good person to rank all the of the free games offered.  But again–only the free ones. I need a job before I get a paid subscription. So be warned–the regular crossword will not be included. Sorry to any avid cross-worders… 

These are my opinions; feel free to have your own, but let’s start off at the bottom of the list with number 7…

7. Tiles: Now this is a cute little game where you match certain patterns of tiles and try to get the highest streak. Buuuut, it’s kind of boring. It’s the most basic of the games and can really make you mad when you lose your streak because you thought it matched, but only one corner was wrong. Overall I’m not a huge fan and wouldn’t miss it if it left.

6. Spelling Bee: This game gives you 7 letters, including one letter that must be in every word you make. Your goal is to make as many words as possible and get the highest score. Now maybe I’m just not good with words, but I can barely get more than 15 points when I play. I barely make 3 or 4 words. It’s just not my cup of tea. It’s like a terrible game of Scrabble with no opponent but my own vocabulary (or sometimes…lack-thereof!)

5. Letter Board: In this game, you are given a square with letters along the outside and you have to use all the letters while making a limited amount of words. I have to say–I really like this game. It is very unique to me as I have never seen anything like it. It does get kind of hard and frustrating when all the vowels are on one line so you can’t do them back to back or repeat letters. Overall, it’s not the worst, but not the best game out there.

4. Mini Crossword: This is a good middle of the road choice. It’s not the worst, but it’s not my favorite. I enjoy doing the mini because it’s quick and simple, but a lot of the prompts contain clues I don’t know, so it can take me 50 seconds or 10 minutes. The level of difficulty is quite inconsistent day to day, and it’s probably meant for a more adult brain and not that of a teenager.  But still fun to do. Overall not a bad choice.

3. Sudoku: Now this might be controversial, but I put Sudoku in 3rd. I am a huge Sudoku fan. I have been doing them since the 3rd grade. It’s just fancy counting, but I love it. So if this is the bias in my tier list, so be it…but Sudoku games are great.

2. Wordle: The classic game itself–the one that started the chain reaction. I placed Wordle in second and this may cause a multitude of different reactions. It is a good game; in fact, it’s what got me into the NYT games. It is a puzzle where you spell words and have to figure out the right word of the day based on colored squares. Wordle really took off during the pandemic years. You’d see posts all over social media every day, with people rushing to publish their Wordle score. It was (and still is) a simple way to compete with one another every morning. I love Wordle and I’m very grateful it opened me to this world of opportunities,  as now I get to play all of these games, including the game at number 1. 

Honorable Mention…

This honorable mention is dedicated to the beta test game, Strands. As of now, it is still in the beta phase, so we don’t know if it will become an official game. Because of that factor, it was not included in the rankings. But I really like this game. It’s a lot of fun and gets me thinking. It’s a new, interesting twist on a word search and overall a great play. Here’s to hoping it becomes an official game.

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the number 1 New York Times game is…

1. Connections: I love Connections. I don’t even know how to describe why I love it. It’s just matching words to categories, but they aren’t as straightforward as you think. They make you use your brain and think creatively and I love that. I don’t know who comes up with some of these categories, but they should be paid well. I will admit sometimes the categories are stupid, but it all makes up for it when you get a perfect game. It just makes me feel so good and I have to brag about it. It makes me feel so smart as I have bested the best game in NYT.

Try it out for yourself: You’ll thank me later!

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About the Contributor
Isabella DeCunzo
Isabella DeCunzo, Co-President
Isabella is a junior at East Rockaway Jr/Sr High School and is so excited to be a Co-President of her favorite club, The Gull. She’s been an avid writer for the gull since the eighth grade and participates in many of East Rockaway’s sports teams like volleyball and softball. Isabella is also very interested in musical theater and loves to participate in the school musical every year. She loves to write about any books she’s currently reading, cool historical events, opinion pieces, T.V. shows, and movies.

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