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Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

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Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

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A ranking of all eight New York Times games

Annie Tumang
Mini games from the New York Times

A feature of the New York Times site that has gained popularity in recent years has been its eight featured mini games that may only be played once a day, the most popular at the moment being Wordle and Connections. As someone who plays most of these games nearly every day, here’s some of my favorite, and not so favorite games from the New York Times. 


8 – Tiles

Starting off strong with the worst game in my opinion has to be Tiles. In this game, you have to match identical shapes and patterns in every tile and finish the layers in order to get a clear board, which will finish your game. Although you don’t lose if you mismatch a few tiles, it ruins the combo that you have. To an extent, this seems like a good concept for a game, but as you play it for long periods of time, it gets very easily migraine induced. After only ten minutes of playing, my eyes were already hurting just from looking at the game. This may be a personal problem, but just something to consider when picking which game you want to play. 


7 – Letter Boxed

Honestly, this game isn’t that bad, I think that the idea was there, it was just hard to execute. I feel like there’s no way to actually win at this game and it just becomes word guessing to the point where you just give up. On the screen it will say ‘Try to solve in 4 words’, but what is there to solve for? The only thing I could think of was using all of the letters around the box. There is a chance that there’s something I’m missing when it comes to understanding this game, or I could just be flat out terrible at it, but from time to time it may be found as enjoyable.


6 –  Spelling Bee 

This game is kind of mediocre, it always seems like there’s no way I can ever win this game either. To start, you get seven letters and you want to see how many words you can make with just those letters. Every puzzle has a letter that must be included in every word you make, which is kind of what makes this game hard. The only way you can make words is if you have the letter and if your word is more than three letters long. I usually don’t spend a lot of time with this game knowing that it’s going to get me annoyed, but every once in a while I try to give it a shot. 


5  – Vertex

Vertex is basically a big game of connect the dots, with unlimited plays and puzzles, there isn’t really any flaw here. The game gives you a hint for what the secret photo might look like, and you have to connect the dots to each other, but only with a specific amount of allowed connections, which could make it a bit more difficult for others. Overall, this game is pretty easy and it keeps me busy for a while, I could be doing it during any class and still not get bored.


4 – Wordle 

I have been doing the Wordle whenever I can since at least 8th grade, and it never fails to surprise me. I may be bad at it but I know it kept my dad and I entertained enough to do it every single day for an entire year. It has a pretty basic concept, you have six chances to guess a five letter word. My only issue with this game is the strange words they have sometimes, like ‘Cacao’ and ‘Rupee’. How was anyone going to guess words with so many vowels in so little space? By the way, this photo is not an accurate representation of my Wordle skills



3 – Mini Crossword

If I could play the larger version of the New York Times mini crossword puzzle, I would but unfortunately it costs a bit of money  in order to play. I enjoy playing this game and seeing how fast I can do it every day. This puzzle always has creative hints for words, but there is never more than ten words. My only complaint about this is the puzzle for May 3, the words barely being words as is, but besides that, I love playing this game almost every day.


2 – Strands

The newest addition to the New York Times games in its beta edition is Strands, which feels like a hard word search. Instead of giving you words to look for, you have to find words all connecting with the given prompt. Each prompt every day is usually a statement or a question, as an example, ‘A shade envious?’, where the common theme of words were all names of different shades of green. The hardest part of this game is trying to find words that follow the theme while also not overlapping others, but you are allowed hints. I don’t have anything negative to say about this game, it’s challenging, fun, and new! 


1 – Connections 

Connections is by far my favorite game from the New York Times, it’s always tricking me and allowing me to think differently than I would if I was playing any other game from this website. In Connections, you get 16 different words on a grid, and between all 16 of them, you have to find four that all share a common theme. For example, bar, club, disco, lounge, are all night spots to hang out, which, spoiler alert, was one of the groups for the Connections for May 3. The only issue with this game is that sometimes it has weird categories, like the ‘Shapes of Capital Greek letters’, which was a category that everyone I know failed at guessing. Besides the questionable group choices, Connections is game that improves thinking and the understanding of words, making it amusing and at times, schooling.


All in all, the New York Times set of games are impressive, and I look forward to any new upcoming ideas for games they might put together in the near future. If you have any interest in any of these games, you can find them easily at

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About the Contributor
Annie Tumang
Annie Tumang, Review Editor & Social Media Editor

Annie Tumang is a sophomore at Niles North. This is her second year writing for NSN, and she is the reviews editor. She is interested in music and writing reviews

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