Today is Election Day and I am definitely anxious. But I have felt a physical sense of relaxation while watching this Twitch stream of people in the chat solving New York Times crossword puzzles together.
The game is very cleverly done. The stream shows the crossword and the clues. Users type in responses to clues in the chat, and then the puzzle will select that clue and fill in the answer. For example, somebody typing “29d ark” essentially translates to “the answer to 29 down is ‘ark,’” and the game can select that clue and type out the answer in the crossword itself. And the whole thing is backed by an extremely chill instrumental soundtrack.
Sam Von Ehren’s collaborative crossword puzzle-solving stream on Twitch. Image: Twitch
The game isn’t bug-free — it has crashed a few times while I’ve been writing this article. But the person hosting the stream, New York Times game designer Sam Von Ehren, has been actively working to keep the game going when things go awry. (A couple times, he’s filled in the last few answers manually so that the puzzle could be counted as solved. What a good guy!)
I personally am terrible at crosswords, so I haven’t contributed anything to these collaborative puzzles myself. But I love watching people solve crossword puzzles, and the calming soundtrack and positive atmosphere in the chat has made watching this stream the most relaxing part of my entire day. I highly recommend spending a few minutes with the stream.
And if you need some other ideas about how to cope with election anxiety, my Verge colleagues and I wrote about what we’re doing to deal with it all.