A Day to Play – The New York Times

My colleagues and I thought today would be a good day to remind you of some recent Times games, as well as an all-time classic, that you can play alone or with friends and family.

We’ll start with our recent Faces quiz, where we asked you to identify 52 people making headlines in 2023. We’re adding a bonus in today’s newsletter. At the end of the Faces quiz, we asked players to nominate someone they thought should have been on our list and wasn’t.

Below are the 12 most frequently mentioned people. We provide an answer key, with their names, at the bottom of today’s newsletter.

If you can’t get enough Faces, the 2022 and 2021 versions are still available.

You’ll also want to try this holiday-themed version of Flashback, the Times history quiz. Includes Stonehenge, Holly, Rudolph and Mariah Carey. Both today’s Connections game and the Mini also have holiday themes. And if you haven’t tried the Kiki-Bouba game yet, it’s fast and fun.

As for that all-time classic: Many people spend the day with a geographically diverse mix of family or friends. Such a meeting can be a great place to take the Times dialect quiz, published 10 years ago, and see what it tells you about the roots of your speech. The quiz remains one of the most read pieces of Times journalism in our long history. We have since developed a dialect quiz for Great Britain and Ireland too.

Finally, I have a piece of music advice, whether you’re spending the day celebrating Christmas, relaxing, or working. My personal soundtrack this time of year is the retelling of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite” composed by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. It’s delightful background music for any activity today.

You can listen to a performance by the Eric Felten Jazz Orchestra at Apple Music, Spotify OR Youtube. (Ellington-Strayhorn’s The Nutcracker begins with the sixth track, titled “Introduction.”) And here’s a recent Times article by Hugh Morris on other retellings of “The Nutcracker.”

Whatever you are doing, I hope you enjoy your day.

Programming Note: This week we’ll use The Morning to highlight the best Times journalism of 2023, especially work we think is worth revisiting. As always, The Morning will also provide you with a summary of the day’s news and links to the Times’ complete coverage.

Circus stars: Mongolia produces some of the most sought-after circus performers in the world, despite a lack of training facilities and government support.

Red meat: Long synonymous with luxury vacations in America, ribs’ place on the table has changed with tastes and economics.

Ask Vanessa: What does “dress your age” mean? Know what makes you feel good, says the Times’ chief fashion critic.

From nothing: Black holes were thought to arise from the collapse of dead stars. There may be an alternative way.

Metropolitan diary: The best entry of 2023.

Lives lived: Mildred Miller was a mezzo-soprano who spent 23 years at the Metropolitan Opera. She died at 98 years old.

Sunday Night Football: The New England Patriots upset the Denver Broncos26-23.

Around the NFL: The Detroit Lions captured their first division title since 1993 with a win over the Minnesota Vikings. And the Miami Dolphins rallied to defeat the Dallas Cowboys, 22-20. See week 16 takeaways.

Soccer: Manchester United’s owners have announced they have sold a 25% stake in the team to a British petrochemical billionaire.

Beyond the glitz: Indian cinema is often equated with the glamor and noise of Bollywood, but in a nation of 1.4 billion, regional film industries are as distinct as their languages. In the southern state of Kerala, home of Malayalam-language cinema, audiences are increasingly turning to more nuanced, male-driven stories like the recent hit “Kaathal,” about a closeted gay politician.