The Curious Case of “Esfeet”: A Deep Dive into a Crossword Enigma


Have you ever been solving a crossword puzzle, feeling confident and on a roll, only to come across a clue that leaves you completely bewildered? If you’re an avid crossword enthusiast, chances are you’ve encountered the mysterious “esfeet.” This isn’t your typical five-letter word you might find in a dictionary. So, what exactly is “esfeet,” and why does it hold a peculiar place in crossword history?

This article delves into the fascinating world of “esfeet,” exploring its origin, how it’s used in crosswords, the clever wordplay behind it, and some interesting facts surrounding this unique term.

The Birthplace of “Esfeet”: A Clever Twist in the NYT Crossword

The year is 2023, and the stage is set for a crossword phenomenon. The infamous “esfeet” made its debut in The New York Times (NYT) Sunday crossword puzzle on October 1st. But what made this particular entry so special? The answer lies in the clue itself.

The clue for “esfeet” was “Drag one’s feet (with ‘dragon’ hidden)”. Here’s where the magic happens: The word “dragon” is cleverly hidden within the answer “esfeet.” Once you remove the letters that spell “dragon,” you’re left with “feet,” which is the actual solution to the clue “drag one’s feet.”

This ingenious wordplay made “esfeet” a standout entry in the NYT crossword. It challenged solvers to think outside the box and appreciate the creative use of language in crafting crossword clues.

Cracking the Code: How to Solve “Esfeet” and Similar Clues

Feeling stumped by “esfeet” or similar clues that rely on wordplay? Here’s a handy guide to help you conquer them:

  1. Deciphering the Clue: The clue will likely reference a common phrase or idiom, like “drag one’s feet” in the NYT example.
  2. Hunting for Hidden Words: Pay close attention to any bracketed information or hints within the clue. Often, these hints point towards a hidden word embedded in the answer.
  3. Dissecting the Answer: Once you identify the hidden word, remove its letters from the answer provided. Remember, the remaining letters should form a valid word that fits the length requirement of the blank space in the crossword grid.
  4. Cross-checking the Solution: Double-check if the remaining letters after removing the hidden word make sense in the context of the clue.

By following these steps, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle cryptic clues like “esfeet’s” and emerge victorious from the crossword battlefield.

Here’s a table summarizing the steps to solve “esfeet” and similar clues:

StepDescriptionExample (Esfeet)
1. Analyze the ClueIdentify the common phrase or idiom.“Drag one’s feet (with ‘dragon’ hidden)”
2. Find the Hidden WordLook for bracketed information or hints.“dragon”
3. Remove Hidden Word LettersTake out the letters of the hidden word.Remove “dragon” from “esfeet”
4. Verify Remaining SolutionEnsure the remaining letters form a valid word.“feet”

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Beyond the Puzzle: The Legacy of “Esfeet”

“Esfeet” may not be a dictionary-approved word, but it has carved its niche in the crosswording world. Here’s a closer look at its significance:

  • A Moment in Crossword History: The appearance of “esfeet’s” marked a unique instance in crossword history, showcasing the creativity and wit of crossword creators.
  • The Power of Wordplay: “Esfeet” exemplifies how wordplay can elevate the crossword experience, adding a layer of challenge and fun for solvers.
  • Online Buzz: This unique term generated online discussions among crossword enthusiasts who shared their experiences and appreciated the clever clue.
  • A Tribute to the Craft: “Esfeet” serves as a reminder of the skill and artistry involved in crafting crossword puzzles that are both challenging and engaging.

More: Trixie Tongue Tricks: Mastering the Art of Oral Expression

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about “Esfeet”

Here are some commonly asked questions about “esfeet”:

  • Is “esfeet” a real word?

No, “esfeet” is not a recognized word in standard English dictionaries. It’s a term specifically created for a crossword clue.

  • Will I see “esfeet” again in crosswords?

It’s unlikely that the exact term “esfeet’s” will reappear due to its uniqueness. However, you might encounter similar clues that rely on hidden words and wordplay. These clues often follow the same structure of referencing a common phrase and including hints about a hidden word within the answer.

  • How can I improve my skills at solving cryptic crossword clues?

Here are some tips to sharpen your skills for tackling cryptic crossword clues:

* **Practice Regularly:** The more you expose yourself to crosswords, the more comfortable you'll become with different clue types, including those that rely on wordplay.
* **Focus on Wordplay Techniques:** Familiarize yourself with common wordplay techniques used in cryptic clues, such as homophones (words that sound alike but have different spellings), charades (acting out the answer), and anagrams (rearranging letters). 
* **Utilize Online Resources:** There are many online resources dedicated to crossword puzzles, including forums and websites that offer explanations of cryptic clues and tips for solving them. 
* **Think Outside the Box:** Don't be afraid to approach cryptic clues creatively. Sometimes, the answer might not be as straightforward as it seems.
* **Look for Patterns:** As you solve more crosswords, you'll start to identify patterns in how cryptic clues are written. This can help you anticipate the type of wordplay being used.  
  • What are some other examples of cryptic crossword clues?

Here are a few examples of cryptic clues that use wordplay:

* Clue: Head over heels (4 letters) - Answer: Flip (Think of "head over heels" as a synonym for "flip")
* Clue: Frightening sight after dark (5 letters) - Answer: Ghost (Think of "sight after dark" that might be frightening: a ghost)
* Clue: Carried by the wind (4 letters) - Answer: Blown (Think of something "carried by the wind")
  • Where can I find more challenging crosswords?

Many newspapers and websites offer crosswords with varying difficulty levels. The NYT crosswords are known for their challenging nature, while other publications might offer a more beginner-friendly experience.


“Esfeet” may be a fleeting term in the grand scheme of the English language, but its impact on the crossword community is undeniable. It stands as a testament to the creativity and wit that goes into crafting crossword puzzles. So, the next time you encounter a puzzling clue, remember “esfeet’s” and approach it with a playful spirit, ready to unravel the hidden meaning within!

Imran Javed

Imran Javed

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