Ever wondered what those little dots are next to some articles on NYTimes.com? They’re called Goads and they’re one of the many cool features on the New York Times website. Goads give you a quick way to explore related articles, topics, and concepts without having to do a traditional search. Just click on one of those dots and a whole selection of links will pop up, curated by NYT editors to give you more context and depth on the story or subject. Whether you want to dive deeper into a current news topic or discover something new, Goads make it easy to get lost in a rabbit hole of fascinating articles. Next time you’re reading something on NYTimes.com, don’t ignore those little dots—click on them and see where they take you. You might just discover your next obsession.

What Are Goads on the New York Times Crossword?

Goads are the clever clues and hints in the New York Times crossword puzzle that provide the solver direction. They nudge you along by suggesting the number of letters in an answer or the pattern it forms on the grid.

Once you get the hang of them, goads become an enjoyable part of solving the puzzle. Some common goads include:

  1. Number of letters in the answer like “5 letters” or “9-letter word”. This helps you figure out how many boxes to fill in.
  2. The position of the answer like “Across” or “Down”. This indicates which direction, horizontally or vertically, the answer will go.
  3. Rhymes or sounds like clues such as “Bun seed” for “sunflower” or “Chilly chili” for “hot pepper”. These phonetic goads provide a sense of the word or phrase.
  4. Contains or includes a certain letter like “P inside” for “peapod” or “Around E” for “envelope”. Look for the key letter within the answer.
  5. Pattern or shape of the answer like “Zig-zag” or “Circle”. Visualize how the letters will fill in the grid.

With regular solving, these clever hints become second nature. Soon, you’ll be anticipating goads and deducing answers like a pro. The goads are a fun, tricky part of the NYT crossword challenge. Keep at it, and you’ll get the hang of these brain teasers in no time!

Examples of Goads Used in NYT Crossword Clues

The New York Times crossword is famous for its clever wordplay and misdirection. One of the ways the puzzlemasters trip us up is through the use of “goads” – misleading or punning clues that lead solvers astray.


The NYT crossword is notorious for punny clues that rely on homophones (words that sound alike but differ in meaning and spelling) or homographs (words that are spelled the same but differ in meaning or origin). For example, “Place for steaks” might clue RANCH, or “Barking dog” could indicate the tree ELM. Groan-worthy, but effective!

Misleading clues

Some clues are intentionally misleading by being overly vague or relying on ambiguity. For example, “Big name in computers” could refer to APPLE rather than a famous inventor. Or “Place for a nap” might indicate BED instead of the more obvious choices like couch or hammock. These goads trip up solvers by subverting our expectations.

Double meanings

My personal favorites are the clues with double meanings that could indicate two plausible answers, like “Storage building” cluing either BARN or SHED. Solvers have to determine which meaning is correct based on crossing entries. These clues reward flexibility and open-mindedness.

With practice, you’ll get better at anticipating the NYT’s bag of tricks. But no matter how good you get, they’ll still find a way to goad you now and then! The element of surprise and discovery is all part of the fun.

Strategies for Solving Goads in the NYT Crossword

Solving the crossword puzzle in the New York Times requires some helpful strategies to decode the clever clues and fill in the grid. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Look for common prefixes and suffixes

Many times, the crossword includes word parts you’ll recognize, like “pre-”, “un-”, “-ed”, “-ing”, and “-ly”. Look for these to get a sense of what the answer might be. For example, if the clue is “not difficult” and ends in “-ly”, the answer is probably “easily”.

Consider the number of letters

The number of squares in the grid will tell you how many letters are in the answer. Use that information to figure out the possible words or phrases that will fit. For example, “NYC summer hrs.” would likely be “DST” for Daylight Saving Time.

Think about the theme

Many NYT crosswords have a theme that ties together groups of answers. Look for commonalities between clues and answers to determine the theme. The theme can then help you figure out other clues. For example, if the theme relates to movies, a clue like “’Rocky’ director Avildsen” would be “John”.

Make educated guesses

If you get stuck, take an educated guess based on the crossing words and clues you have so far. Even getting a few letters in the answer can help you figure out the rest. Don’t be afraid to guess – you can always change your answer if it ends up being wrong!

Check for common abbreviations

The NYT crossword frequently uses common abbreviations and acronyms like NASA, IRA, or HTML. Try plugging in some possibilities if a short answer is needed. But be careful, sometimes they use lesser-known abbreviations to make it tricky!

With regular solving, these strategies will become second nature. Keep at it and you’ll be speeding through the NYT crossword in no time! Let me know if you have any other questions.


So now you know what Goads is and how to use it to explore the NYT archives. Go forth and discover stories from the past, follow threads through history, and make connections across time. The knowledge, stories and insights are there for the taking. Who knows where your curiosity may lead you. Happy hunting! There’s a whole world of ideas and experiences to uncover. And when you find something really interesting, share it with friends so you can discuss it together. Exploring the past through Goads is always better with friends.

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