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24 Years of NYTimes Crossword answers

September 2, 2017

View the notebook here

Description

Exploratory data analysis of 24 years of New York Times Crossword answers. I use data visualization and computational linguistics concepts to discover trends in the Shortz-era puzzles (1994 - present).

Questions include:

  • What are the most common answers?
  • Are words getting longer? Shorter?
  • How does puzzle letter density vary by day?
  • What words have emerged in the crossword only in the past few years?
  • How lexically diverse are the puzzles?

Dependencies

  • tidyverse for everything
  • plyr for data wrangling
  • here for OS-agnostic file paths
  • tidytext for text analysis methods
  • stringr for string-manipulation operations
  • viridis for a simple, colorblind-friendly palette

Data Sources

The original dataset for this project was scraped from XWordInfo.com. Upon their request, however, I have taken down my scraper code and removed the dataset from this repository. Read the notebook for more details.

About

An exploration of New York Times crossword answers from 1994-2017, i.e. the Will Shortz era.

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