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CRUX Crossword App

Mobile app for a wide selection of crosswords

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


CRUX screen shot

CRUX screen shot

Category: Crossword Puzzles - US & UK-style
Developer: Rumination Software
Rated: 4 stars
Requirements: Compatible with iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad

Download from iTunes

Bottom Line

If you already have a premium crossword account with The New York Times ($39.95/year) then for an additional $4.99 this app will allow you to access and solve the daily crossword as well as the thousands of puzzles in the NYTimes archives on your mobile device. As an added bonus, this app also includes many in-house puzzles as well as access to other US newspaper and magazine puzzles and even British-style cryptic crosswords from Canada and overseas. A small additional fee ($2.99) gets you thirty crosswords by Brendan Emmett Quigley, one of Will Shortz's favorite constructors. Definitely a lot of value in this app for less than five bucks.

Solve puzzles from various sources on the go!

I recently reviewed a crossword solving app from Magmic Inc. designed specifically for solving The New York Times crosswords. It's a free download and allows you to play crosswords from The New York Times archives. However, if you want to access the daily NYTimes crossword you'll have to cough up $16.99 for a year's subscription ($2.99/mo. or $9.99/6 mos.) If you don't already have a premium crossword subscription with The NYTimes which costs $39.95, this is a pretty good deal. However, bear in mind that the Magmic fee only lets you solve puzzles on your mobile device. There is no option to transfer them to your computer or print and solve them on paper. If you already have a NYTimes premium account then you might want to consider Rumination Software's CRUX crossword solviing app for Apple devices. It costs $4.99 and allows you to access your premium account at NYTimes as well as many other crosswords from a variety of sources including The Philadelphia Enquirer, Houston Chronicle and others. It also offers British-style crosswords from Toronto's Globe and Mail as well as Britain's The Independent and The Telegraph (requires subscription).

Lots of Features

It probably goes without saying that crossword puzzles don't transition that well from paper to computer screen and it is even more so regarding the small screen of an iPod or iPhone. The daily puzzles which are generally 15x15 squares are passable but the 21x21 weekend puzzles can be frustrating within the limited real estate of a handheld device. They look pretty good on an iPad with its beautiful display but iPods and iPhones are a choice of last resort. It can be done but it might take some practice as well as patience.

As with other solving apps, the Settings feature will allow you to set your preferences for how the program behaves when inputting answers. There is an Auto advance clue, Skip completed clues, Skip completed cells, Timer, Keyboard sounds, etc. After solving a few puzzles you'll begin to realize your preferred settings for these various features. I, for one never select sounds, rarely time myself and I don't generally listen to music while solving even though they are all options on Apple devices.

No Font Size Adjustment

There doesn't seem to be any way to adjust the font in this app. I would like to see that option. Longer clues are displayed in smaller font sizes due to space constraints. Some can be hard to read for older, tired eyes. One work around is to switch to the clue list mode and read clues and enter letters there. Much easier on the eyes.

Many people seem to be asking for the option to display the puzzles in landscape mode. For now, only portrait mode is available which makes for a lot of horizontal (as well as vertical) scrolling. Landscape mode would reduce some of that need for scrolling as well as be a visual improvement.

Unlike the Magmic app, you don't have the option of sharing your results via various social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. People might like to have this option.

The developers at Rumination Software told me recently that they have a lot of features in the works, including iCloud syncing, a GameCenter support, and a landscape mode for iPad (they heard their customers' plea). They are also planning to add a giant cache of content and some exciting new partnerships are supposedly in the works. I look forward to hearing more in the near future.

Is it worth it?

This is another great app for solving all your favorite crossword puzzles on the go. With access to US as well as British-style puzzles from a wide variety of sources, this app offers a lot of bang for the buck. If you already have a subscription to the NYTimes premium crosswords then this is a pretty good investment. For less than $45 you have a year's worth of daily puzzles as well as an archive of thousands of puzzles to keep you busy for the next decade or two. I give this app 4 stars out of five. Highly recommended.

Which Puzzle Apps Would You Recommend

Do you know of a puzzle app that merits a mention here at About Puzzles? What's Your Favorite Puzzle App?
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