App review: NYTimes Crosswords

App review: NYTimes Crosswords

Crossword fanatics will find it well worth the subscription cost

It's funny how you forget things about yourself. Life gets so crazy, you know? Earlier this week I happened to be sitting somewhere with nothing to do for a good 15 minutes. I picked up a newspaper someone had discarded nearby and started filling in the crossword puzzle.

"I used to love crossword puzzles," I realized as I became engrossed in solving the puzzle. When they called my name, I tucked the paper into my purse. I brought it home and finished the puzzle later over dinner.
 
Back in The Day, I remember my excitement at learning that you could get the New York Times crossword puzzle online. It was always yesterday's puzzle, but I didn't care. It was in a Java pop-up window that frequently crashed. Again, didn't really care. Completing the puzzle isn't really the allure of it for me, as odd as that sounds.
 
And now here it is 2012 and you can get the New York Times crossword puzzle automatically delivered to your iPad every day. As I discovered once I finished that crossword I accidentally encountered, and found myself hungry for more.

The app doesn't let you cross out the clues as you complete them, which I know is kind of A Thing for people. However, when you click to highlight a row of boxes, it highlights the corresponding clue which is very helpful. 
 
The iPad version also has the advantage of filling in the squares with big legible letters (upper case sans serif font). And if you want to change them? Just click on the square and type in another letter. It works even better than pencil. Although "I do the whole thing in pen" purists will have lost something to brag about. 
 
I had difficulty figuring out how to log in at first. You have to make a separate login just for this puzzle app, even though it looks like it will log you in with your iTunes Game Center login. I eventually figured out that it wasn't that the Connection menu was blank, it was just extraordinarily slow to be populated. 
 
The app is free to download. It gives you a week's free trial, which gives you both the daily puzzles and access to over 6,000 puzzles in the New York Times archive. If you like it enough, you can subscribe after your week is up. Subscriptions are very affordable: $17/ year, or $3/month if you want to do it month-to-month. Crossword fanatics will find the cost very worthwhile.