It’s your first (and hopefully last) Thanksgiving holiday during a pandemic, and you might be looking for some kind of outlet for your newfound stress. Well, you’re in luck: New York Times Games is streaming collaborative crosswords on Twitch right now.
This collaborative take on the NYT’s online crosswords works kind of like Twitch Plays Pokémon, relying on chat inputs from viewers watching the stream. (Of course, in this case, you’re entering in crossword answers rather than picking moves in a pokémon battle.) Commands are formatted like “23d barn” meaning “the answer for 23 down is barn.” From there, the game is smart enough to select the correct boxes and fill them in. It’s designed by Sam Von Ehren, an NYT game designer.
The game will run starting today through Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and Von Ehren expects that he’ll “probably stop it at some point on Saturday,” he said in an email to The Verge.
You might have heard about these collaborative crosswords before — Von Ehren hosted an initial version of the game on his personal Twitch channel on Election Day. The game has since been updated to be faster, more stable, and better able to understand answers in the chat, Von Ehren said. This newly updated version can also handle multiple rebuses, which is the rare occasion when multiple boxes in a puzzle hold two letters rather than one.