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View Poll Results: How often do you solve crossword puzzles?
Pretty Much Daily (6-7 or more puzzles/week) 4 11.11%
Avidly (3-5 puzzles/week) 6 16.67%
Casually (1-2 puzzles/week) 11 30.56%
Never (I do not like them/they intimidate me) 15 41.67%
Voters: 36. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-06-2009, 05:44 PM   #1
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As fellow readers, do you do the daily/casual Crossword Puzzles?

I am asking because, am find a lot of fun doing the daily NYT xword puzzle. And for me spending a Friday or Sunday questioning the lineage of Will Shortz is a pure delight.

However I because we have a NYT subscription, it also includes access to the only xword puzzle of the day and it's huge archive of puzzles from years gone by. And I think I have a desert island reserve of old puzzles saved but I keep them numbers just for certain emergency's.

I find them very relaxing and wonderful option to staying fresh on a variety of topics because some clues defy your thought process no matter what and might require some "cheating" by hunting up recent articles potentially associated with a clue...plus Will Shortz is Marquis de Sade in the guise of a mild manner writer/pocket protector wearing freak boy...and that is one of the kinder names I call him most days, even on some Mondays, though on Monday I seem to find him far less of a putz. (if ya do the puzzles you get those past two sentences, if not, do a bit of Googling or rent the movie/documentary "Wordplay" and you WILL understand...)

Anyway, I am at a loss as to why there is a line from I believe Netronix which is including Sudoku puzzles but not anything for crossword puzzle lovers. Sudoku, is dull, and I am a mathematician. Though in small doses can be a LOT of fun so I see why folks like them, plus anything to improve peoples relationship with even just the arithmetic used in Sudoku puzzles is a good thing. People are too intimidated by the basics for some reason.

I just see adding crossword puzzle software to some of the more text input friendly device out there (and if they can do Sudoku they can add crossword support) should include both.

Reading the AcrossLite format is a must as most of the more prominent puzzles are published online suing that format. For Windows and, I think the Mac as well as a couple larger Linux platforms there is a free player direct from the AcrossLite folks. But the choices are less so for small devices. However the good news is for the smaller kernel Linux variations out in the world world there is a nice, lightweight app out there called Xword. Someone did a very quick mod to get it running on the Nokia N8x0 (and I think even the N770 but am not certain there) which also run OS2008/OS2007 for sure but And maybe OS2007HE for the N770 users. Best of all it is free.

I created the pole to find out just how hand-in-hand reading and doing crosswords actually can or cannot be. To me it is a no brainer, if you read, and enjoy words then crossword puzzles only improve your comprehension as well as expose a person to new ideas and subjects. I do them for fun not speed and do not care if I spend a weekend on a Friday puzzle or 30-mins on a Monday puzzle...it is a lot more relaxing than many thing.

I love using my N800 for puzzles because I have wireless access and an use the Wiki (easiest) if I need to cheat because of a total lack of familiarity with a clue. Hey, better to learn and keep solving the puzzle than to stop because I never learned anything about, say, Opera. (no not Oprah...OPERA)

Oh, yeah, if you are also not aware there are lots of free sources for puzzles as well. And a very reasonable trick if you like the NYT puzzles is to get a one month puzzles only sub for like $15 then download EVERYTHING in the archieve...I promise even your kids will have turned to dist before all of those puzzles are solved, there are that many and because they are just text files, down load fast. I think my "desert island" reserve is around 3000 puzzles...ok, so one weekend I got a tad over zealous...

Anyway, long winded post for a basic question, do you or don't you solve crossword puzzles for fun and relaxation? BTW, they also offer a great distraction from daily stresses...or add to them on Friday & often Sundays as well.
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Old 06-06-2009, 05:56 PM   #2
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I don't, but one of the frequent questions on the Kindle boards are people asking if they can do crosswords on the Kindle. Someone out there is going to make a fortune selling a little game device that can do crosswords and autodownload new puzzles wirelessly.
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Old 06-06-2009, 06:06 PM   #3
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I don't do the NYT crosswords. They'd take away from my time to read.
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Old 06-06-2009, 06:07 PM   #4
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I don't, but one of the frequent questions on the Kindle boards are people asking if they can do crosswords on the Kindle. Someone out there is going to make a fortune selling a little game device that can do crosswords and autodownload new puzzles wirelessly.
Thanks for the info, I never visit the Kindle forums, prolly should just to see what's in the wind. Just really nice to know there is an interest. And with the KDX coming out, wow, that is a no brainer, especially if the device can be subsidized with a subscription later on. I actually stopped our Kindle sub to the NYT before the free trial was up once I learned it did not include the xword puzzles, and we could not solve them even it it did. We already had a full delivered to the door sub that does provide the puzzles online anyway.

I agree about a small device that can deliver them wirelessly. Devoted players will be all over them. Casual players maybe not so much because of the cost. I can download direct to my N800 either over Wifi or my MMB 3g service. I sure would love to see automagic downloads. Hmmmm...I wonder of there is an RSS feed from the NYT for their puzzles? I'll check into that later today.
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Old 06-06-2009, 06:07 PM   #5
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I don't do the NYT crosswords. They'd take away from my time to read.
or posting here...hehehehehe....
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Old 06-06-2009, 11:45 PM   #6
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Oh, yeah, if you are also not aware there are lots of free sources for puzzles as well. And a very reasonable trick if you like the NYT puzzles is to get a one month puzzles only sub for like $15 then download EVERYTHING in the archieve...I promise even your kids will have turned to dist before all of those puzzles are solved, there are that many and because they are just text files, down load fast. I think my "desert island" reserve is around 3000 puzzles...ok, so one weekend I got a tad over zealous...
I did do crosswords, for a while, until I entered the work-force full-time, but now rarely, if ever, find the stamina to complete one. Practice does make perfect, though, so if I did do them more regularly, I would perhaps enjoy doing them more.

I explored free crossword puzzle sources last year to see if I could convert any to ebook formats for upload here. I was amazed that practically all free crosswords are also copyrighted with no clear redistribution right. Even though the NYT crossword samples are free, they are only for personal use and that precludes them from being uploaded to a public forum (as I found out ).

Do you have any source of non-copyrighted free puzzles?

If you haven't already done so, check out my post, The New York Times: Free sample Crosswords. v1. 19 May 2008 for a simple HOW-TO.

Cheers, from a fellow mathematican
(BMath, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada)!
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Old 06-07-2009, 01:54 AM   #7
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I sometimes fill them. But my option isn't in your poll. It's less than once a week.

But I love logic grid puzzles. Sadly, you hardly see those anymore. I think they're all replaced with soduko...
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Old 06-07-2009, 05:07 AM   #8
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Personally I can think of few things more tedious than doing a crossword. I'd rather watch paint dry .
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Old 06-07-2009, 08:01 AM   #9
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Cross Word puzzles are occasional, sudoku and reading aren't.
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Old 06-07-2009, 10:49 PM   #10
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Personally I can think of few things more tedious than doing a crossword. I'd rather watch paint dry .
hahaha...I would have pegged you for a fan of the crossword puzzle. But I feel the same way about watching NBA basketball...pure torture, only slightly better than soccer or gads, cricket...now MLB that is a different ball game all together.

For me the fun is the off the wall clues that once you puzzle out the word makes one want to hunt down Will Shortz and ensure he is unable to procreate.
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Old 06-07-2009, 10:55 PM   #11
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You don't have my choice: Almost Never.

I did attempt one just today, in fact. A friend emailed me a link to one entitled "Geek Crossword #11 - Monty Python & The Holy Grail".

I am sad to say that my Holy Grail aptitude was less than I thought. OTOH, this means that I'll have an excuse to watch the movie again

For those who wish to attempt it: http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20090531
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Old 06-07-2009, 11:08 PM   #12
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I do them a few times a week, but never the hard ones. Anything after Wednesday is pure frustration.

I had an operation a few years ago that affected my memory, and it helps if I do several different kinds of puzzles -- crosswords, the dreaded dull sudoku, memory games like Concentration, and other logic puzzles. Anything that helps the wracked brain build new connections. According to my neurologist, playing a variety of different logic and memory games helps more than sticking with one kind.

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Old 06-08-2009, 04:02 AM   #13
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What you should have asked is: Do you do cryptic crosswords?

I do one a day and love them
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Old 06-09-2009, 11:12 PM   #14
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No I don't. My mother likes them, though, often using a dictionary or encyclopedia for aid. I still don't think she does more than one or two a month, though.
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Old 06-10-2009, 01:30 AM   #15
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I do them a few times a week, but never the hard ones. Anything after Wednesday is pure frustration.

I had an operation a few years ago that affected my memory, and it helps if I do several different kinds of puzzles -- crosswords, the dreaded dull sudoku, memory games like Concentration, and other logic puzzles. Anything that helps the wracked brain build new connections. According to my neurologist, playing a variety of different logic and memory games helps more than sticking with one kind.
Without a doubt it is felt, and a lot of research has shown that for a number of brain trauma and disease states, the longer and more often the person can work on problem solving as well as creative things like drawing, painting, poetry, writing or even building things, household repairs and heck, even photography Not snap shots but planing shots, understanding the lighting and all that schtuff, all will help with slow down degradation of memory pathways or in a lot of cases actually aid the brain in building new pathways to preserve or improve cognitive abilities. The more exercise you give both halves of your brain, they better...

So, it's great to read someone is proving the theory correct. I say theory simply because everything is theory when it is so young as is our understanding of how the brain works, let alone what things like memory, intuition and such really are.

BTW, for the most part I "think" my brain is mostly still intact, despite my efforts to thwart my bodies efforts to keep it running as advertized...hehehehe...but I know some weeks I skip Thursday and those pure evil Friday puzzles in the NYT...hahhahaha...so, you are FAR from alone.

If you did not know it, Jon Stewart is a HUGE NYT puzzle guy. The portion of the movie Wordplay where he discusses how he spends all day working on the puzzle is super funny and, reminded my better half of how I approach and, as I mentioned before, question the genetic heritage of Will Shortz...it's a very interesting documentary but also is far from the dry thing so many people feel it would be.

I for one find it amazing that anyone who reads has such fear and/or disdain for doing crossword puzzles. They are one of the best tools around for, as you say, improving memory and keeping your mind agile. Also, I can think of no other way to build your vocabulary or, may the gawds forbid, actually LEARN something because to figure out a clue you need to research a clue. I do not feel that is "cheating" the purpose of doing the puzzles is to LEARN and if you really do not know something, after giving it an honest shot, look the darned thing up. I try and take as round about a route as possible in order to sneak up on the answer. It added even more fun to solving them.

I also find, doing them gives me a wonderful distraction from stresses or work.

Kudos to your neuro for encouraging you to attempt as many puzzles as possible. And even the Sudoku puzzles are GREAT because it still requires analytical/problem solving. If you don't always know the algorithm for solving it, a Rubik's cube is a GREAT puzzle because there is a specific way to solve them, and it takes thought and concentration to find it on your own. But it's the sort of thing that once you know the real secret to solving the cube, the method will come to you and is purely mechanical.

I can offer a hint if you want...nothing huge, well, actually it is, but to a lot of people it's too simple to be the foundation to solving the darned beast.
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