Emilie Ruscoe


This weekend, our neighborhood arrived at a modest milestone when it was featured as the answer to a clue in a New York Times crossword puzzle.

Bushwick, or rather, “Bshwck,” as the puzzle was a vowelless one, was the correct response to the clue “Big Apple neighborhood bordering Williamsburg” in the Variety puzzle section of the Sunday, February 12 edition of the paper.

The inclusion delighted many local fans of the Times crossword, including John Dereszewski, an expert on Bushwick’s history and a longtime city employee who served as the District Manager of Bushwick’s Community Board 4 in the 1970s.

Mr. Dereszewski brought the puzzle to the attention of Bushwick Daily’s editors, and recommends the puzzle to anyone interested in city history, as the puzzle is New York-themed.

New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz confirmed for Bushwick Daily that this is indeed the first time “Bushwick” has shown up in a Times crossword.

It so happens that Bushwick has made its first appearance in a crossword right before a historic day for the puzzle, which was first published on Sunday, February 15 seventy-five years ago in 1942.

In a piece published yesterday in the Times, crossword columnist Deb Amlen describes the beloved puzzle as “a path to serenity in a world of uncertainty” and recalls how the Times began featuring crosswords in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor as the paper faced “a war, the prospect of blackout hours and an audience in need of relaxation.”

If you’ve been struggling against the effects of news fatigue and information overload for the past couple of months (and if you are, you’re not alone), maybe you can relate to those readers who inspired the Times to introduce the crossword decades ago.

Read that story for some heartwarming anecdotes from crossword devotees and expert perspective on the therapeutic effect of focusing on a crossword puzzle.

Readers can check out the puzzle featuring Bushwick here (though you will need a Times crossword subscription to access it—and yes, that is different from a subscription to Times articles, though it costs less than a dollar a week).

Happy puzzling, Bushwick!

Featured image: Working on a crossword puzzle. Photo by Marc Kjerland via Flickr.