Taylor Swift Teases ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ With Cryptic Video, Word Jumbles

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Swifties scrambled to decipher the hidden messages in the clip.

Taylor Swift sent her Swiftie sleuths into overdrive on Thursday morning (August 5) when she released a cryptic 30-second video teaser filled with a series of 13-letter word jumbles floating out of a gilded safe amid swirling copper-colored leaves. The message accompanying the tweet was similarly packed with wink-wink, nudge-nudge clues that will likely be quickly deciphered by the singer’s legendarily detail-oriented superfans.

presses post cackles maniacally Level: casually cruel in the name of being honest,” Swift wrote above the clip featuring such seemingly nonsense phrases as: “MEBRIDGERSKOE,” “NOTELPATSIEEV” and “EAIEURLTSBETT.” Billboard recently confirmed that the heart-wrenching song “Ronan,” chronicling a child’s battle with cancer, will be featured on the upcoming re-recorded 30-track version of Red, which is due out on Nov. 19.

Your Monday Briefing

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Covid pass protests grow in France

For the third week in a row, thousands took to the streets across France to protest the government’s health pass law, which bars those without proof of vaccination or a recent negative test for Covid-19 from many indoor venues. It was passed by Parliament but still needs a final greenlight from a top constitutional council, expected next week.

More than 200,000 people marched in Paris and in other cities, including Marseille, Rennes and Strasbourg, according to the French interior ministry. Across France, three police officers were injured and 19 people were arrested.

The protests come as the authorities try to stem a new wave of infections that is starting to put pressure on France’s hospitals, where 85 percent of Covid-19 patients are unvaccinated.

Politics: The demonstrators are united in their distrust of the news media and of President Emmanuel Macron’s government, and they include far-right and far-left activists, Yellow Vest members and vaccine conspiracy theorists, as well as vaccinated people who argue that the health pass is oppressive and unfair.

Will Shortz Edits His 10,000th Crossword

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I think I was picked for the job partly because of my age at the time — at 41, I was younger than the other candidates. I think Rosenthal foresaw the digital revolution, and probably felt that a younger person would have the best chance of navigating that. I also had a good résumé: 15 years at Games, founder/director of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament and holder of the world’s only college degree in puzzles. Also, he said he liked the sample crossword I submitted.

As for nervousness when I got the job … a little. I grew up on an Arabian horse farm outside a small town in Indiana. While I wanted to have a career in puzzles, I never really aspired to be the New York Times crossword editor. That seemed too august for someone with my background.

What other changes did you make?

Well, the changes I mentioned above started immediately. The very first crossword I edited, which ran on Sunday, Nov. 21, 1993, and was constructed by Peter Gordon, set the tone: It included squares that were to be filled with colors of the rainbow — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet — each appearing in the grid twice. That was a first.

One minor change that got a lot of attention at the time was the acceptance of commercial names as answers. That had been a no-no. But since commercialism is a big part of modern life, I felt that well-known commercial names were fair game. Before I started, OREO was always clued as “Mountain: Comb. form.”

Of course, the Times Crossword has continued to evolve. Theme ideas that were startling or far out in the 1990s might now be considered tame or maybe even trite. And many crosswords that ran just five years ago might not make the grade today.

In your opinion, how has the transition from print to digital affected the puzzle and your editing of it?

There are several answers to this.

As I mentioned, the Times Crossword used to be a department of one. I edited the puzzles at home, as I still do. But I would go into the Times building once a week and use The Times’s library to look up facts that I couldn’t verify at home. Now, of course, virtually anything can be found on the internet, and I never have to go to The Times. At home, however, I have a really good reference library. My office is filled with dictionaries and reference books on almost every topic you can think of. I feel that used to give me an edge over other puzzle editors in writing fresh clues, and I still use my books.

The big change has been the expansion of the editorial department. I hired my first summer intern in 2000. Other helpers came along later. Joel Fagliano was my summer intern from 2011-13. He then joined me full-time when he graduated from college. Sam Ezersky came along a couple of years later. Last year, Tracy Bennett and Wyna Liu joined our team. Since we all work from home, we collaborate through Zoom, email and The Times’s digital crossword portal. Someday we’re going to record one of our Zoom editorial meetings and post it for everyone to watch. They’re a lot of fun.

The Times’s crossword audience seems more diverse now than in 1993 — in age, ethnicity and otherwise — so I try to be inclusive. I’d like everybody to see his or her life reflected in the puzzle. I’ve always tried to do that, but now, consciously, more than ever.

Some innovative crosswords are technically difficult or impossible to present well online, because of their unusual grids or whatever. It used to be that if you were a digital solver, and wanted to solve it the way it was “supposed” to look, too bad — the “real” puzzle was in print. Nowadays, we can’t do that. If a crossword can’t be presented well online, we can’t use it. Occasionally there is a visual clue in print that can’t be presented in Across Lite or The Times’s app, so we have to write a substitute clue for online.

We’ve pretty much stopped doing cross-reference clues (like “With 54-Across …,” when 54-Across is on the other side of the grid) — unless there’s no other way — because clues like this are annoying to online solvers. It’s not easy to jump around the puzzle online. With print, that’s less of an issue.

More test solvers than ever see the Times Crossword before it’s published. I hired three testers when I started. Now many more people are involved. And last year, we instituted a policy of sending the contributors their edited/typeset puzzles before publication, in case they have concerns or suggestions. All of these steps have improved the puzzle.

The Times Crossword has more competition now than ever — not just in print publications like The Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times, but in digital publications and indie sites as well. For solvers, this is truly the golden age of puzzles. And as editors, we have to bring our ‘A’ game every day in order to stay competitive.

In 2021, how many puzzles do you see for every one that you accept to run as a daily? What, if any, changes have you seen in the demographics of the aspiring constructors?

When I started in 1993, I was probably getting 40 to 50 submissions a week. Over the years, the number of submissions has slowly increased. When the documentary “Wordplay” came out in 2006, people saw how crosswords were made and became excited about making them, and the number shot up to 100 or so a week. Then, when the pandemic hit last year, as people had more time on their hands — and we started accepting submissions digitally — the number shot up even more.

Now we’re getting close to 200 submissions a week. Since we can publish only seven a week, the acceptance rate is only 3 percent to 4 percent.