I’m a crossword puzzle fanatic. I even dropped my New York Times subscription recently in favor of nytimes.com’s annual puzzle subscription, and solve (or try to solve) most of the puzzles on my Mac. So finding Stand Alone’s $9.99 Crosswords app among the first batch of iPhone software on the App Store makes me happy.
The software can wirelessly download free puzzles from CrosSynergy, the New York Sun, the Wall Street Journal, The Onion, the Village Voice, and elsewhere. It also supports user names and passwords for secure crossword puzzle providers (such as the New York Times’ aforementioned Premium Crosswords).
Once you open a puzzle, you can pan around it and pinch to zoom in to a particular section. A keyboard at the bottom lets you input your letters, and in landscape mode clues appear along the left side of the screen. A Hint function gives you hints for the current clue, lets you see errors for the current clue or all errors, or reveals the entire fill when you’ve given up. The app even times how long you spend on a puzzle; great practice for the next American Crossword Puzzle Tournament.
An iPhone may not be an ideal tool for solving crossword puzzles, however, so I’ll reserve final judgment until I’ve had time to try it for a week or so.