Developer: Michael and Barbara Crick
Requirements: Compatible with iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad
Bottom LineThe game transitions well to the small screen of an iPhone or iPod and the interface is responsive and easy to play. Good play value and definitely a nice time waster when waiting for your subway stop. Free to download and begin playing with additional puzzle packs available for purchase. However, compared to a crossword puzzle it lacks the enticing beauty of the symmetrically black-boxed grid just waiting for those lovely solution words to slip neatly into place.
Totally re-invent the crossword puzzle
Traditional crosswords have serious drawbacks
- (1) They are difficult to construct
- (2) Most words are short and often silly -- chosen only because they fit
- (3) Matching clues to numbers is a distraction
- (4) A given puzzle is usually either too easy or too hard
(1) They are difficult to construct.
Correct! And perhaps it may come as a surprise to many solvers but the easiest crossword puzzles are the most difficult to construct. However, I don't consider this a drawback. Anything worthwhile will take some effort to create. A good puzzle with lively fill and a clever theme provides a lot of entertainment and a sense of accomplisment when solved.
(2) Most words are short and often silly -- chosen only because they fit.
Wrong! A quality crossword puzzle has strict limits on the number of three-letter words allowed (as well as the number of black squares). Generally, the 'mean word length' is over five letters and theme entries are often 10-15 letters!
If by "silly" you mean crosswordese, even that is kept to a minimum and only tolerated in puzzles with enough pizazz to offset the dross.
As for, "chosen only because they fit" - that is utter nonsense, you silly goose. Essentially,ALL words in a crossword puzzle are chosen because they fit.
(3) Matching clues to numbers is a distraction.
Really? You need some way to indicate where to enter clue answers into the grid. Definitely not a deal breaker for me.
(4) A given puzzle is usually either too easy or too hard.
Hmm... There are puzzles of every difficulty level on the market. Just choose according to your ability and adjust as your solving prowess improves.
Trivializing the bad news
However, the Crickler word games which take answers directly from the latest news stories have no such filters. For example, a fill-in-the-blank clue reads as follows (in reference to an oil refinery blast in Venezuela): "President Chavez surveyed the __ caused by the blast." The answer word is CARNAGE.
or, "Haitians were __ by tropical storm Isaac and the homeless were particularly __ ." INUNDATED and VULNERABLE are the respective answers.
I just feel it would be better to stick to human interest or political stories when generating these puzzles. Do we want to amuse ourselves with answers like CARNAGE, AMPUTATION, or SUICIDE? Are we not trivializing these very tragic events which severely impact real people in violent and horrific ways?