I am a huge fan of word games, puzzles, and crosswords, so I was excited to try Crux Crosswords HD, a game from Rumination Software. I’m happy to report that it’s an excellent, fully featured crossword app with great graphics, an easy to use interface, and plenty of available puzzles.
My favorite thing about Crux Crosswords is the way that it captures the look of an actual newspaper. There’s no glaring black and white boxes here – it has the soft, textured gray of a real paper and an easy to read handwritten font. It’s realistic enough that when I play, I can easily imagine that I’m holding a newspaper and pencil, scribbling in entries.
Not that I’d rather be holding a newspaper – my iPad and this app are excellent substitutes that allow me to do my favorite crosswords without getting ink all over my fingers.
There are plenty of ways to enter words: tap a cell, tap a clue on the right hand side, tap a clue at the bottom, use the next key on the keyboard, or use the directional pad that’s on the menu bar. I preferred tapping and using the next key, but this app will work for you no matter how you like to input your text.
Layout wise, Crux Crosswords is pretty typical of other crossword apps. There’s the main puzzle, and along the side is a list of all the clues. The clue for the current block is shown on the bottom, above the keyboard. Unfortunately, Crux Crosswords can only be played in portrait mode, and I was a little disappointed by that. I would prefer the greater viewing area of landscape mode, as well as the easier to use keyboard.
Crux Crosswords has an abundance of useful features. Tap to write in pencil if you’re unsure of an answer, or switch to pen when you know it’s right. If you highlight a cell, you can tap the green button at the bottom which will switch to intersecting mode and show you all the clues that go with it. Switch from across to downwards clues with a tap of a button, and if you have a few possibilities in mind, use the rebus to enter up to 12 letters per cell.
Tapping check will allow you to check answers for a selected cell, an entire entry, or the whole puzzle, flagging correct entries with green and incorrect entries with red. You can also use the reveal button to show you the answer to a single cell, an entry, or the entire puzzle if you’re really stuck. Be careful though, revealing an answer writes it in with a different font, so there will be no fooling family or friends when you brag about completing the entire puzzle yourself. You can also clear your entries, or just the incorrect entries, which I found to be incredibly helpful when I made a mistake and couldn’t figure out where it was.
There are plenty of sources to be had, from both the U.S. and the U.K., from newspapers and magazines like the Houston Chronicle, the Washington Post, the Globe, and People Magazine (plus tons more). Available puzzles are shown on a calendar, and when you’re working on a puzzle from a particular day, it shows a dot indicating your progression (if you don’t finish) and a completion time (if you do). The New York Times and the Telegraph are also available, but only for those that have a subscription.
The app doesn’t download all of the puzzles at once, but individually when selected, and new puzzles are available for download every day. You can easily switch between puzzles you’ve worked on with the “my recent puzzles” category. If you have multiple family members who like to do crosswords, this app is perfect – there’s an option for several users to be added, so the app can be used by more than one person.
There are plenty of settings and options that will allow you to customize the app to your liking. I like to know when I make errors, so I turned on automatic error checking. I also turned off skipping completed cells, which can be frustrating when I have a few letters filled because my natural response is to type the entire word. You can also set it to skip completed clues, use the spacebar to erase, use swipe erasing, and even turn off the timer if you’re feeling rushed.
All in all, this is a highly polished crossword app with tons of features that will help have fun while solving all of your favorite puzzles. With new content every day, this is an app I will come back to time and time again.
What I liked: The look and feel of the app really drew me in. I also liked that there was plenty of content and an easy to use interface.
What I didn’t like: I would like to be able to play in landscape mode. I was disappointed that it was not available. Some of the sources were new to me, and I think it would be great if some of the puzzles were ranked by difficulty and content.
To buy or not to buy: This is great crossword app at a very fair price. Other crossword apps in its caliber are twice as much, so this is a solid deal for an exceptional app.
- App Name: Crux Crosswords HD
- Version Reviewed: 1.0.5
- Category: Games
- Developer: Rumination Software LLC
- Price: $4.99