Is this the most ingenious crossword design ever?

(Image credit: Peter Cade via Getty)

Ah, crosswords. There isn't a lot of room for playing with the established design of everyone's favourite classic word-based puzzle (that isn't Wordle), right? Well, the internet is currently going wild for the New York Times' latest crossword, which has managed to offer a sort of choose-your-own-adventure. 

For one 'across' word, the puzzle asks which is the "better of the two sci-fi franchises". Either Wars or Trek will fit after 'Star', but what's ingenious is that the four 'down' words still work, regardless of which you've chosen. (Want to design your own crossword? Check out our guide on how to download InDesign.)

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Regardless of whether you're a Trekkie or a [insert word for Star Wars fan], there's no denying the wit on display here. Depending on which franchise you chose, those four words could either be “trap,” wrist,” “payees,” and “leaked”, or “wrap,” waist,” “payers,” and “leased.” And each corresponding word works equally well for its respective clue. "Ones involved in a transaction," for example, are both 'payers' and 'payees'. It's hard to explain, just look at the image.

Crossword puzzle

(Image credit: @matttomic on Twitter)

Think it all sounds a bit complicated and geeky? You'd be right. But hey, we live in a post-Wordle world – these things are cool now. Especially if you're the New York Times, which not only published this brilliant crossword but also just bought Wordle itself

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And it seems the internet is here for it. "Very clever. Maximum trolling," one user tweets, while another simply adds, "This is ART." While we do agree, let's not forget to spare a thought for anyone who opted for 'Stargate' instead – and ended up with words like 'grap', 'payets', and 'leaeed'.

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.