This project was a class assignment for Lede taught by Jonathan Soma. I completed this project in two weeks. 
According to some crossword constructors, the topic of who the crossword is written for has been an active point of discussion and debate in crossword circles. I thought studying how slang appears in the crossword could contribute to this discussion of the crossword’s intended audience.

Slang is a transitory language developed by diverse subgroups of society. Before social media and online communication, it took time for this language to enter the main culture's vocabulary, and it’s unusual for slang to remain in use for more than a few years. A study of slang, when it enters the puzzle, how it enters the puzzle, who has control over how it gets defined (clued), and how this is changing over time could help shed light on the crossword culture and its actors.

Tools Used
I wrote a Python method that scrapes the data using BeautifulSoup to collect the data. The data analysis was done using the Python library Pandas. The graphs were created using Altair and Datawrapper, exported as SVGs, and edited using Adobe Illustrator. They were then made responsive for the web using ai2html.js
Data Analysis
All the code for this piece has been uploaded to GitHub

The analysis was done by scraping the XWordInfo website for all the answers, clues, dates, and other relevant information. I collected a list of all the crossword words that had clues containing the qualifiers "modern slang" or "modern lingo" and manually researched the years that the term was popularized. This analysis can be found in this excel sheet

These Jupyter Notebooks contain the data exploration leading to this story.

I spoke to a few NYT Crossword constructors on Twitter who were incredibly kind with their time and gave me valuable insights: Aimee Lucido, Will Nediger, Adam Wagner, and Robyn Weintraub. 

I also referenced articles about the crossword and academic papers about slang for further insights:

“Crossword Editor Opens the Door to Innovation across the Board Shortz Story.” Baltimore        Sun,

Aronow, Isaac. “How Word Lists Help - or Hurt - Crossword Puzzles.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 6 Oct. 2021,

Zhou, Yanchun, and Yanhong Fan. “Home-Academy Publication.” Home-Academy Publication, Changchun University of Science and Technology, Changchun, China,
Words of Gratitude
Thank you to Jessie Blaeser, Pete Brown, and Rodrigo Menegat for helping me brainstorm ideas for the graphics and for editing my drafts. It was invaluable!
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