The Week In Crosswords

Trip Payne’s puzzle contest got kicked off Kickstarter (which doesn’t allow contest elements) so he’s raising the funding for it on his own site, much like the elsewhere-mentioned Emily Cox, Henry Rathvon and Henry Hook, funding their CRooked Crossword series. Back on Kickstarter, Puzzazz closed out a successful $20K fundraising run.

It seems like a lot of people have chosen to mark the centennial of crosswords with a book. COUGH. COUGH. There’s the previously-blogged David Astle, and John Halpern is kicking off his own writing efforts by touring the U.K. and making special crosswords themed around its cities, in and Oxford.

Test your knowledge of boy-band sensations with this now-concluded contest… the answers are here, not that you need them.

This previously-linked test of “crosswordiness” (ratio of crossword appearances to in-print appearances) yields some interesting results, because its focus is Shortz-edited crosswords, which reflect an effort to keep things “in the language.” So there’s not much ERNE or ETUI, but there are some words that are slouching toward archaism, particularly ALEE, SNEE, ASEA, PSST and EGAD.

Bananagrams goes jumbo-sized.

Quote of the week: “Crosswords… teach us how to fail.” Runners-up: Patton Oswalt, Adam Rex, Drew Schnoebelen, Sean Vanaman.

The Washington Post has been running a couple of interesting variations on the crossword form for a while now, one an easier version for those who find their brains slowing down, the other a creative challenge like the clue-writing competitions for the Observer and Nation, but, unlike them, focused on non-cryptic clues.

Like just about everybody else, crossword-makers have not been as enthusiastic about Obama’s second inauguration as his first, except maybe for BlackCrosswords.com.

Speaking of Obama, a presidential endorsement has helped the paid Scrabble iPad app, whose free version still has a few kinks to work out.

Kids Across, Parents Down is a neat idea: Across clues at a child’s difficulty level and Down clues at a parent’s, encouraging collaborative play. Now the company has a new set of crosswords for kids just learning to read.

3-D crosswords for the blind are now a reality.

Nice try, Citibank, but the fact is that QR codes make lousy crossword puzzles unless you’re willing to work on a very large scale.

I can’t help but be intrigued by late lesbian activist Julia Penelope and her book Crossword Puzzles for Women. But I don’t think I can afford to sate my curiosity on this one. I already snapped up this collection, which looks reminiscent of one of my own projects… I’ll let you know how it solves.

Finally, Freelancer.com employers are looking for the next wave of crossword app developers.

About T Campbell

T Campbell is a crossword constructor and comics scriptwriter. Among his cruciverbal accomplishments are the Ubercross C-Spot (the largest puzzle to follow New York Times standard rules), Crossworlds, a collection of 50 science-fiction-themed puzzles, and the forthcoming On Crosswords: Callin' Out Them Squares.
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