The debate between star trek and star wars is older than time – I know it’s older than me anyway – and it popped up as recently as Sunday New York Times crossword, which asks a puzzle question.
The clever puzzler simply asks, “Best of two sci-fi franchises.” Depending on your preference, the answer is either star wars Where StarTrek. The double meaning was highlighted in Wordplay, the Time‘ crossword column with a note on jigsaw puzzle builder Stephen McCarthy’s choice.
“I’m a fan of both. star wars and star trekso it’s nice to be able to highlight both (not to mention the friendly rivalry between the two fandoms) in one puzzle,” McCarthy says in the column.
The puzzle is quite sneaky when you look at it. The starting word for 70 Across should be “star”. But the remaining four letters are more mysterious, featuring both “Trek” and “Wars.” go on star trek route spells out “trap”, wrist”, “beneficiaries” and “leakage” in intersecting clues star warsthe answers could be “wrap”, size”, “payers”, and “rented”. No matter how you slice it, both answers work here.
It’s nice that both answers complete the puzzle, but I’m calling bullshit. There is only one correct answer to this, and that is star wars. I wouldn’t be convinced otherwise, even if the line in the movie is “It’s a trap” and not “It’s a wrap”.
People online are shaken by this puzzle, especially after twitter user matttomical shared a screenshot of the section. Many agreed with me in saying star wars is clearly the right answer. But, of course, there are Trekkies proclaim star trek is the obvious choice between the franchise. There are some Random stargate peopletoo, but who even watched this show?
There is a real spirit on the screen with this puzzle. This is to be expected. It’s the New York Times, after all, so I applaud McCarthy for building such a dastardly grid. I also appreciate McCarthy for talking directly about the idea of confirmation bias through this puzzle. It really signals where the allegiances lie and will likely be a sticking point in this rivalry forever.
Read more: The Surprisingly Messy Culture Wars in The New York Times Crossword Puzzle
During this time, the New York Times has been upping its games game lately. In addition to its old and well-known crossword puzzles, the NYT also performs other word puzzles spelling bee and Letter box, Tiles and Vertex visual games, and a little-known math game called Sudoku. And just this month, the newspaper bought the online sensation wordle. Honestly I would right click on game if you’re worried it’s locked behind a paywall.