Do crossword puzzles in newspapers tend to get more difficult as the week goes on?

Everyday, I do 2 crossword puzzles. One in the LA Times, the other in my local paper. I noticed a while ago that Monday crossword puzzles are easy, and that they get progressively more difficult as the week goes by. Has anyone else noticed this, or is it all in my imagination.

Yes my father and I have noticed this too. We do them every day. Apparently Sunday is a little easier than Saturday, however.

My dad saw the NY Times xword editor on one of those news magazine shows not too long ago and he confirmed our suspicions (at least the NY Times puzzle does).

At Barnes&Noble the other day, I saw a collection of Saturday New York Times crosswords. It proclaimed itself to be a collection of, “The Most Difficult Crosswords of the Week”.

From doing crosswords, I notice that the easiest is on Monday, the hardest is on Saturday, and Sunday’s is generally a bit easier than Saturday’s.

Absolutely true, for me. Monday’s NY Times is a joke b/c it’s so easy, the rest of the week’s are about the same, Saturday’s is a joke b/c it’s so difficult, Sunday’s is difficult but doable, unless I’m hungover.

The NY Times has long had a tradition of harder puzzles on Friday and Saturday. You’ll notice that those puzzles have longer words (often two words per row across instead of three, for instance), fewer three-letter words, and more cryptic clues. They also don’t usually have “themes,” so getting one of the major clues isn’t a clue to the rest.

I like those puzzles. The rest of the week is easy (Sunday is moderately difficult, but not at the top level, simply because it’s so big).

I have noticed that Saturday crosswords are definitely the most difficult, also that cryptograms seem easier. For the crosswords I just figured that the crossword editor must think that we have more time to figure it out on Saturdays. For the cryptograms, maybe the editors are giving us a little break in case we were out late Friday night.

The New York Times puzzles do. I’ve noticed that the other puzzle that the local paper runs doesn’t have such a steep curve.

IIRC, the Sunday NYT puzzles are supposed to be of approximately a “Thursday” difficulty. The only difference is that the Sunday puzzles are larger.

Will Shortz, who is the editor of the New York Times crossword, has this to say, at this link:

It is true that Saturday is the hardest, but the Sunday crossword is more “clever”, and utilizes puns and other types of word play, and is generally based around a theme.

Shortz had a brilliant crossword back in '96, I think it was, right after the Clinton/Dole election. The puzzle scheduled to come out the day after the actual election, but was created weeks in advance. One of the across clues was “Winner in yesterday’s election” and both CLINTON and BOBDOLE fit in the space. All of the down clues would accept either letter (ie: the first down clue was “Halloween animal” which could be Cat or Bat). Pretty brainy guy.

My buddy characterizes the Sunday puzzle as a “Thursday”…

Tribune Media Services’ crossword does not get harder as the week progresses - M-F are about the same. Saturday is more difficult, though, and unthemed usually.