Can someone please explain to me the difference between "black crosswords" and regular crosswords?
· Mar 8, 2023 ·

There's a niche market for everything. Especially these days when it comes to race.

Even for, um, crossword puzzles?

Juliana Pache was working on The New York Times' daily mini crossword one day when she got stumped on a word she felt was too specific to white people.

"I was stuck on something, and I was like, ‘This feels like some white [expletive], just to be honest.' That's the thought that I had in my head. And then I was like, ‘I wonder if there's a Black version of this,'" the Afro Latinx entrepreneur said.

Hmm. Can't say I've ever had that impression reading a crossword before.

But that's just me! Pache apparently felt differently, and so she set out to make a black-centric version of the classic crossword puzzle:

Pache did some searching for Black crosswords online but didn't have much luck. The puzzles she found were outdated, were only available as PDFs, or didn't have as vast a word bank as she would have liked. So that same day, she bought three domain names with the intention of creating a platform for a digital crossword puzzle highlighting words from the diaspora and culture. Once she realized "Black Crossword" was the one that stuck, she submitted a trademark application for it that week.

The Queens, New York, native launched Black Crossword on Jan. 27 to a very warm welcome. Since then, Pache has dropped mini puzzles daily featuring words that crossword fans may not commonly find elsewhere.

Sounds like an intriguing idea, I guess. And enough people think so that Pache has even been profiled in the New York Times for her work.

But, um, looking at the list of puzzles that Pache has produced, I gotta say, they don't look all that different from the crosswords you might find elsewhere. Here, for instance, is a puzzle from last Thursday:

This isn't a bad puzzle. It's pretty basic, but then again even basic crossword puzzles are notoriously tricky to get right, so it's an accomplishment either way.

But, I mean, does this really constitute a "black version" of a crossword puzzle? Why? Because of the reference to Huey Newton? He's a major historical figure in U.S. history. I'm sure he's been in plenty of other crosswords.

Or the Usher clue? I'm pretty sure if you've got a residency in Vegas, you're just as firmly ensconced in white culture as you are in black culture.

Most of the other puzzles seem to be similar — just smaller versions of normal crossword puzzles.

Which, again, is fine. The world can always do with a few more fun distractions.

But does it really qualify as a "black crossword?"

Four-letter word for "I Don't Think So."

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