Review: Crosswords for iPad

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Crosswords iPad app

Crosswords brings you a great, and continuously updated, selection of crossword puzzles to solve on your iPad.  It’s actually a ‘universal’ app – meaning that a single version of it supports the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

I’ve tried out Crosswords on the iPhone a long while back and it was a solid game – but I was hoping for more on the iPad, for something closer to the feeling of doing a crossword in an actual newspaper.

I’ve been using Crosswords on the iPad since right around Day 1 of having the device – and so far the app is living up to my high expectations.  Here are some of the reasons why:

Great Content

Crosswords for iPad

I’m rusty at doing crosswords, so I’m finding I may get through 3/4 of a puzzle and hit a wall.  At that point I still want to continue solving a puzzle, but I know I’m temporarily stuck on that particular one.  With Crosswords it is easy to just select a new puzzle and carry on, then return later with fresh eyes to the 3/4 solved one – as the game maintains your progress on every puzzle you try, permanently.  I love this feature -as it lets me return as often as I like to a number of puzzles I’m still working on.

The app has a long list of included puzzle sources:

• Houston Chronicle/Washington Post
• New York Times Classic Crosswords
• The Onion A.V. Club Crossword
• Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday
• Sydney Morning Herald
• Thinks.com
• Wall Street Journal
• Village Voice
• Chronicle of Higher Education
• The Independent
• The Globe & Mail
• The Herald
• Manchester Evening News
• King Features Crosswords
• Guardian Crosswords
• Le Monde
• Easy Kentucky
• New York Times (subscription required)
• Telegraph UK Quick & Cryptic Crosswords (subscription required)
• People Magazine
• Newsday

As you can see, it’s a great range of publications that it pulls from, and a good cross-section of cryptic and concise and various puzzle types, as well as levels of difficulty – with even a couple of premium (paid for) options available.

The content is updated daily as well – and you can pull in older puzzles with just a few taps – so you’ll never run out of material to work with.

Great Interface, Comfortable to Use

Crosswords app

Using Crosswords is a breeze – completely intuitive and natural feeling.  If you’re a crosswords fan, you won’t need any instructions at all, you can just fire up the app, choose a puzzle, and dive straight in. 

While the iPhone app was solid, there was a need to scroll quite a bit because of the screen size.  On the iPad, it really does feel a lot like doing it on a newspaper, especially in Portrait mode.

Nice little UI touches include the ability to swap from pencil to ink with one tap, the way it automatically moves to the next space as you type in answers, and moves straight to the next clue once you complete a word.

You can also tap and hold anywhere in a puzzle to get: hints for the clue you’re working on or the whole puzzle (including web links), and a reveal of letters within a clue, a whole word, or the whole puzzle. 

Crosswords for iPhone and iPad

It’s a Keeper

Crosswords is as good I as I hoped it would be on the iPad.  Not just a definite keeper for me, but a real favorite.  I’m finding that I spend time with it nearly every evening.  It’s comfortable and easy to play – and also to jump in and out of while doing other things.  As in, it’s a great couch companion, fun to use while half-watching TV or almost any time.

I like that it’s a universal binary app that’s usable on iPhone, Touch, and iPad.

If you’re a Crosswords fan, this app is definitely worth a look. The price is not that low, but for me this game has superb replay value (endless really) and is well worth it.

You can find Crosswords in the App Store now, priced at $9.99.

*** This app was independently purchased by the post author in the iPhone App Store. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the "About" page. 

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Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

13 thoughts on “Review: Crosswords for iPad

  1. This is by far the most used app on my iPhone and I was thrilled to see it receive a free universal update for the iPad. I still prefer it on the iPhone, even with the small screen, simply because I am so used to how it controls.

    I'm still getting used to the big keyboard and being able to use both hands to type words. The tap-and-hold method for the menu is nice once you are used to it, though I prefer the button at the top on the iPhone version.

    The skip to next word is a little wonky, at least on the iPhone which I spend more time with. Sometimes it will jump to the new word instead of going back to the beginning of an unfinished word. Though with the bigger screen I turned that feature off and just tap the arrows to go manually.

    The only thing I wish it had was the USA Today crossword. It used to, but then USA Today or another company appears to have licensed this game engine for just USA Today crossword puzzles. One app to rule them all!

    A great variety of puzzles and now universal. I really do love this app!

    • I liked the iPhone app, but this one has moved straight into the 'love' category. Right up there in most used apps for me on the iPad.

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  3. I have always loved crosswords, but with my ADD brain, I have a hard time finding the clue I want to answer, then finding the corresponding spaces on the puzzle without being distracted somewhere along the way by bright shiny objects. It looks like this puzzle does a good job of keeping everything together on the same screen and keeping you on track. Now if I can just talk my wife into letting me buy it, or if I can talk all y'alls into slipping me a promo code.

  4. My favourite feature is: "With Crosswords it is easy to just select a new puzzle and carry on, then return later with fresh eyes to the 3/4 solved one – as the game maintains your progress on every puzzle you try, permanently. I love this feature -as it lets me return as often as I like to a number of puzzles I’m still working on."

  5. I like the tap and hold hints idea – much better than scrolling back and forth "You can also tap and hold anywhere in a puzzle to get: hints for the clue you’re working on or the whole puzzle (including web links), and a reveal of letters within a clue, a whole word, or the whole puzzle"

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  7. I can't find this app in the . App store. And when i try to log into the app store from the link on this page i get a Message Sáying my request was Denied.

    • It is available in the US App Store, where the link goes to. I don't check international App Stores when posting these links.

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