Computing with Bifocals - A Crossword Game for your Mac
- July 1st, 2005
I have discovered two really cool applications that I want to review. In this column I am looking at an application for crossword puzzle lovers. In my next column I will cover an application specifically for domino lovers. Sit back, relax, and get ready to have some fun.
MacXword 1.3 (Release 6/1/2005)
|Manufacturer: Advenio, LLC
Home Page: http://www.advenio.com/
Description: Software that enables users to play crossword puzzles from a wide variety of online sources
Price: U.S. $15
Minimum Requirements: Mac OS X 10.3 or greater, 24 MB RAM
System Used for Testing: PowerBook G4, Mac OS X 10.4.1
Anyone who likes to work crossword puzzles will probably be quite interested in this software. In a nutshell, it allows the user to access crossword puzzles from a variety of newspaper sources including classic New York Times puzzles, Washington Post Sunday puzzles, puzzles from the Wall Street Journal, Houston Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Thinks.com Daily, The Sydney Morning Herald, and the Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday editions. Each of these sources offer one puzzle at a time. Some may give a new puzzle every day or so, others only once a week. In addition, the user has the option of adding additional sources if those sources are compatible with the application.
According to the Web site, which I found to be extremely easy to understand and very helpful, compatibility with the application means it should be in Across Lite puzzle format. No, I don't know what that means either, but if all the included sources for puzzles are not enough for you then you can go to the manual, page 18, and follow the steps for adding additional crossword selections. I was able to find additional compatible puzzles by entering "Across Lite" in the Safari Google search window. Do include the quote marks in your search as it will help focus the search.
Once the user selects a puzzle and it appears on your desktop, you are no longer working on-line. If you have a dial-up internet connection you can disconnect your connection without losing your puzzle.
Choose Preferences from the MacXword menu and make some choices to get yourself started.
The first time you open the application you will get a small window that instructs you to select a puzzle from the Sources menu. You can click a box on that window that indicates that you don't want to see it anymore. Go to Sources and select a puzzle. For this exercise I choose a New York Times Classic puzzle.
One of the Preference options is the ability to find out if you have entered the correct word or letter. You set this preference option under the Behavior preference by clicking or unclicking "Auto Indicate Incorrect Letter".
If you do crossword puzzles in ink the following attributes probably won't matter to you. In fact, you may actually sniff audibly. Go ahead. For the rest of us mere mortals the ability to check for accuracy can be of interest. There are two built in helps for this.
You can ask the application to give you the correct word or letter.
You can also check to see if you have entered the correct word or letter.
|X's Indicates An Incorrect Answer||Color (Red) Indicates An Incorrect
Simply move the Ink Saver guide from Black to a setting closer to Light Gray.
If you have not paid for your software your printed page will contain that information in the form of a watermark.
(If you haven't paid, then shame on you.)
It took me all of 15 minutes to become comfortable with this application so it should be a great choice for beginners. Now if I can just get my little Virgo mind to stop being so literal all the time and look at those puzzle clues from a different angle...
This is really a well crafted application, easy to use, logical in it's arrangement, and containing a good users guide. I highly recommend it for beginners. Also just released by this company is a brand new compilation of puzzles from 3 of the leading puzzle authors of today. The book is titled: MacXword Puzzle Collection: 50 Fun and Challenging Crossword Puzzles Volume 1 and it is available on the company's home page.
Copies of Nancy's book Tips, Hints, and Solutions for Seasoned Beginners Using Apple Macintosh Computers With OS X are available in PDF download versions for US$9.57 and in print version for $18.15 plus $4.00 shipping. To view sample pages and get ordering information visit the September 14, 2004 column.
|Check out Nancy's complete index of all her columns for the most complete list of tips anywhere. The list is categorized and is a great reference when you are looking for help!
Nancy has a Master's degree in Human Services Administration and prior to her retirement she worked for almost 30 years in field of mental health and mental retardation. She has been a Mac user for 11 years, and has recently developed an avocation of teaching basic computer skills in both group and one-to-one settings.
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