The digital version of The New York Times (NYT) daily crossword puzzle will no longer be available in third-party apps from next week.
Instead the crosswords will only be accessible digitally through the publication’s own website or app.
They have been available in the Across Lite format, which allows anyone with a NYT subscription to download and open them in an app of their choice.
Crossword fans have questioned the move, describing it as “maddening”.
Across Lite is a free program that uses the .puz format, and enables users to create and open the puzzles on a PC or Mac.
The NYT crossword is so popular that it has its own subscription fee separate from the newspaper, costing $25 (£18) a month or $40 a year.
One of the advantages of subscribing is that users can download any of the crosswords that have featured in the paper since 1993, and the change also applies to this service.
The decision to end support for Across Lite has infuriated some of the publication’s followers.
Crossword champion Dan Freyer claimed on Twitter that he believed the move was nothing more than a “cash grab”.
“This is maddening. This change benefits none of the millions of online #NYTXW solvers who pay an annual subscription for access to the crosswords.”
He continued: “It is a pure cash grab, removing the convenience that has been part of digital crosswords since the mid-’90s.”
This is maddening. This change benefits NONE of the millions of online #NYTXW solvers who pay an annual subscription for access to the crosswords (… sorry, “Games”). It is a pure cash grab, removing the convenience that has been part of digital crosswords since the mid-’90s. https://t.co/79o2LOhnLG
— Dan Feyer (@danfeyer) August 3, 2021
In response, the NYT’s games editor, Everdeen Mason, said the decision was made for “editorial reasons”.
She said in a tweet she wanted to build something which her staff could control, adding: “It takes a lot of time, and I’m confident this is the best move for my team.”
Hi. I’m the one who made this call and I did it for editorial reasons. I’m trying to build something where the editors can actual edit and make games rather than adapt things for tools we can’t control. It takes a lot of time, and I’m confident this is the best move for my team https://t.co/69xZHIFElF
— EverQueen Mason (@EverdeenMason) August 3, 2021