I’m originally from Detroit. Recently, the city’s main newspapers stopped most home delivery of the paper. My mother was devastated. Why? Because she loved doing the daily crossword puzzle and doing it on the computer just wasn’t as convenient as sitting in your most comfortable chair with the paper folded up and a pen in your hand.
So I mentioned that I was considering buying the NY Times Crossword puzzle app for my iPhone (she has an iPhone too). I told her it might be a reasonable replacement for her lost daily puzzles. So we both decided to check it out.
To use the program, you first set up an account (all handled within the program) so that you can download the puzzles daily, and check you answers the next day (or after). Once the account is set up you can download today’s puzzle and start solving!
Puzzle clues are typical in that you tap a cell to enter a letter and as you enter each letter the cursor will move into the next cell. Tap twice on the same square to change the direction of the clue you are working on. You can also use standard multi-touch pinch gestures to zoom the puzzle in and out.
From the main screen you can go to the main menu (not the starting menu), you can show the clues (and answer them) in a list form, you can show/hide the keyboard, and you can use the “pencil” icon to pencil-in a letter (or letters).
When you’ve completed the puzzle, or gone as far as you can go, you’ll want to check your answers – but wait! The answers for a given puzzle are not available until the next day! Once they are available, you can check just a letter, or a word, or the whole puzzle. You can also reveal a single letter, or a word, or the whole puzzle!
In addition, you can choose whether your tools are on the top or the bottom of the screen, change the clue font size, remember your zoom level, and even hide/show the clock.
What I liked: I really like the simple, intuitive interface. They made working the crossword as simple as possible on a mobile device, and I don’t need to have a pen or pencil handy.
What Could Be Improved: Not much. It’s really very well implemented. About the only things I could think of would be to include a dictionary and/or thesaurus – two crossword tools many gamers like to have on hand (not to mention Bartlett’s Quotes).
Overall:The changeover to doing the daily puzzle electronically has been very successful. My mother is once again happy and she sits in the same chair she always did working on her puzzle. The New York Times Crosswords is an app any fan of crosswords should seriously consider. It’s available at the AppStore for $5.99.