Quick, what’s a nine-letter word for “insanely popular kind of word puzzle”?
Today I regularly participate in and help organize major puzzle competitions, but when I was a kid, doing the Sunday crossword was special bonding time with my mom. She even called me to solve it over the phone the first few weeks after I’d left for college. As you might have guessed, crosswords have a special place in my heart, and I’m not alone. Today, tens of millions of people do them every day, and you can find crosswords in just about every major daily publication. For many people, one a day is plenty, but other folks like a bit of variety and freedom when it comes to their crossword choices, and that’s where Crosswords comes in.
Crosswords is effectively a dedicated crossword aggregator, pulling in new puzzles daily from about 20 or so major sources and placing them all in an easy to access and easy to solve format. This includes puzzles from the Washington Post, the Onion A.V. Club, The Independent, and even a French-language crossword from Le Monde. There is a small amount of premium content, like the daily New York Times crossword, which requires a regular subscription to access, but the majority of the content is 100% free.
Even for the puzzle-obsessed like me, Crosswords is a veritable wordplay smorgasbord. With a slew of starter content, new puzzles added daily and almost everything customizable, this little app provides more crosswords than you can shake a stick at, and it does it flawlessly. Whether you prefer traditional or cryptic style, you can select which publications to pull from, which days you want, and even whether or not you want to solve in pencil or in pen (although this doesn’t really do much beyond change your font color).
Other thoughtful details include options like a timer for the competitive minded solver, the ability to highlight mistakes, and a choice of keyboard size for those like me, with less than perfect eyesight and clumsy thumb typing skills. Although Crosswords won’t win any beauty contests with its spartan function over form layout, it’s clear a lot of thought went into the features regular crossword solvers use, and the interface is just about perfect. You can even sign up for their servers to test your mettle against other solvers, if you’re so inclined.
Responsive, easy to use, and with a ton of variety, this is just about the ideal crossword app, but nothing so good comes without a price, and in this case, it’s a fairly steep one, $9.99, in fact. Now, it sounds like a lot, especially when there are dozens of cheaper and/or free crossword apps available, but having used several of them, I can tell you right now that you get what you pay for, and if you’re a regular crossword junkie, this is an app you will be using every single day. I certainly do, and with my terrifically bloated app library, that’s probably saying something.
The Crosswords app also looks and works beautifully on the iPad. You get both versions for one price with the universal binary.
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