There are puzzles, and then there’s the New York Times crossword puzzle. It’s world famous, really hard, and now it’s mobile via the NYTimes Crosswords app. If you’re a fan, download it immediately. If you’re curious, give it a try. You’ll have a week of challenges before you have to pay up to use it.
Jamming an interactive crossword grid into the small screen of a phone sounds hard, but the app developers did a good job. You can zoom in and out of the puzzle and drag it around with your finger to view specific sections. Controls at the bottom of the screen, alongside the clues, allow you to cruise through the puzzle by touching arrow keys and bring up Android’s virtual keyboard, or you can touch any square in the puzzle itself to begin solving.
Either log-in with your New York Times ID or register right from the app. Once signed-in, you can view the current day’s puzzle or browse through a vast archive of past puzzles — more than 4,000. The app’s Help informed me that the Monday puzzles are always the easiest of the week, and that difficulty increases throughout the week, with Sunday’s being the largest and hardest.
Complaints? Well, there’s no landscape mode, so you’re stuck with the portrait touch keyboard. This could get tiresome in an app where you must type often. And, there’s no free ride. After seven days, you must subscribe for a month ($2), six months ($10) or a year ($17).
Increase your chances of feeling inferior by comparing your puzzle-solving times against other players, or engage with the NYT crossword community through the app. All in all, it’s a solid app and the ultimate challenge for crossword puzzle enthusiasts.
UPDATE (Dec 20, 2015)
Unfortunately, Android is not a supported platform by NYT anymore. For iPhone or Windows Phone owners the free, daily updated crossword is available on iTunes and Microsoft Store. For Android users the best alternative is Crossword Puzzle Free with its 2 new puzzles every day. Android users with a PC