In 1996 both Bill Clinton and Bob Dole were running for president.On November 5th, election day, the New York Times was full of it’s usual coverage of such an event. Articles covered the issues and how each candidate and pundits wrote about under what circumstances each candidate might win. But the winner had already been declared in the unlikeliest of sections: The Crossword.
When solved, 43 across read “Elected”. The clue for 39 across was “Lead Story In Tommorrow’s paper (!) along with 43 across.” So the answer, was of course was Clinton, since he would win reelection later that night.
But how did the New York Times know this? Was the paper so confidant in Clinton’s poll numbers they just assumed he would win? Did puzzle creator Jeremiah Farrell have a time machine?
The answer is: they didn’t predict the winner. For you see, “Bob Dole” also fit as an answer in those squares. And all of the connecting answers were interchangeable to correspond to whatever candidate the person solving the puzzle entered.
Check out this animated picture of the puzzle from 22 words:
Pretty clever. Of course, if Ross Perot somehow managed to pull off an upset the New York Times would have been very embarrassed (as would have the voters probably).