I love doing crosswords, and still miss the days of being a student and wasting too much time over morning coffee and solving newspapers’ puzzles.  And I’d just been thinking earlier today that a crossword puzzle app for the iPhone would be very nice (as I’d come across an old install file for a […]
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iCrossword – Native Crossword Puzzle App for the iPhone

icrossword native iphone crossword app icrossword native iphone crossword app 

I love doing crosswords, and still miss the days of being a student and wasting too much time over morning coffee and solving newspapers’ puzzles.  And I’d just been thinking earlier today that a crossword puzzle app for the iPhone would be very nice (as I’d come across an old install file for a Windows Mobile crossword app) – and what do you know, iCrossword showed up on Installer tonight.  Excellent.

iCrossword is in just its 0.1 version, and its current features are:

  • loads the .puz file format popular with online crossword puzzles such as New York Times newspaper
  • double tap navigation bar to get to options screen. There you can get info about current puzzle and perform operations on it
  • add new .puz files into /var/root/Library/iCrossword/puz

I’ve only ever used one other crossword app for a mobile device, so I don’t have a whole lot to compare iCrossword to – but even so, I have a few quick observations after trying it out a little tonight …

The game play experience with it at the moment is a little awkward, which is not surprising in its very first version.  You can do everything you need to do, but there are a few things that seem as if they could be done better to improve game play.  When you are entering letters for a word, for example, it would be helpful if it would automatically skip to the next space (either down or across depending on your selection) rather than over-typing the one letter until you tap on the next space in the word being solved, so you could type faster and more naturally. 

I’m also not keen on the fact that when you go to look at the Dicrossword native iphone crossword appown or Across clues, the clues listing takes up the whole screen.  I would prefer this to take up less screen area, so you could look at the clue, but also where it goes on the board, at the same time.  In fact, it would be good to be able to see all the clues at once as well as the board (and then zoom in if needed to see individual areas better), so that when entering your answer for one clue, you can also be looking at whether it looks promising in terms of the words and clues adjacent to it. 

My final complaint is that once you choose a puzzle, if you don’t like it and want to load another there’s no way to do so without backing all the way out of the app, launching it again, and then selecting a different puzzle.  It would be good to able to swap puzzles from within the app without exiting.

I am very happy to see iCrossword though, and will play it often I think.  I’ve already found a couple of good sites to download the .puz files it works with (some newspaper sites with daily or weekly collections) and they are recognized and loaded just fine by the program. 

The game comes with one default puzzle (if possible, it would be good to see a few more included).  You’ll want to add more, so look for sites that offer them in the .puz file format that iCrossword uses.  I found this site a helfpul jumping off point with links to several newspaper sites with lots of puzzles, but there seem to be lots around (I’ve never looked for .puz files before tonight). 

Once you have your .puz files, you need to copy them to the /var/root/Library/iCrossword/puz directory on the iPhone, so that iCrossword will see and load them for you.  I found the correct path via the developer’s site – ideally this information should be shown to you within the program itself as well.

iCrossword is developed by Chris Miles / RustyRedWagon.com.  The author’s site mentions that it has only been tested on firmware 1.1.2, but it s running fine on 1.1.3 for me.  You can find it on Installer now, and visit the Rusty Red Wagon site – HERE – for more details.

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