Well, He Does Have an Impressive Vocabulary

Bill Clinton Creates NYT Crossword About Boomers

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Does anyone mind if we put aside the stockholder agita at The New York Times for a second? Let's concentrate on another important concern for the paper -- the crossword, which on May 6 will offer clues written by Bill Clinton -- putting to rest any questions about how the former president spends his time.
Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton Credit: wordplaythemovie.com

'Wordplay' star
People generally peg Mr. Clinton as a smart guy, but what gives him the right to create a Times crossword? For one thing, he is enough of a crossword wonk to have popped up -- doing the puzzle in ink -- in last year's "Wordplay" documentary, which follows Times Puzzle Editor Will Shortz and his many fans. Baby boomers, moreover, are the theme of the puzzle and that day's Times Magazines, so who better than the most prominent boomer of all?

The former president and potential first gentleman won't, however, make the print edition; his puzzle will appear online, just as the Times introduces a new look and feel to its games section.

"This is all part of building out the game portal," said Robert Z. Samuels, senior product manager, games and mobile, New York Times Digital. Recent additions include a Google crossword widget that lets visitors display Times puzzles on their personalized Google home pages; the May revamp will bring more content and community tools, not just for crosswords but for games such as chess and sudoku.

Premium games package
"All told, all of these items amount to a sponsorship package that our sales force has started selling," Mr. Samuels said. "I believe a good chunk of May is sold out."

TimesSelect is not the only pay product, by the way, on the Times website. In addition to the free diversions on the games portal, there's a premium games package available for $39.95 annually; it's free for subscribers.

The free Clinton puzzle, which will be promoted in the print magazine, will remain online through the end of May.
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