Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

Love Crossword Puzzles? Add This One to Your List of Addictive Mobile Games This Summer.

Summer’s here, which means it’s time to tackle all those put-off projects play with your iPhone instead of doing work.


Why not add a little more mindless distraction with a new mobile game?

Aimed at lovers of crossword puzzles, CrossMyWord injects a little fun and creativity by letting players design their own crossword puzzles, choose their own words and come up with their own hints for opponents. Puzzles can be pegged to themes, or composed of private jokes between friends and partners.

A puzzle I created, for example, included “AllThingsD” as a word, with “An awesome website” serving as the hint for my opponent (shameless, I know).

Much like Words With Friends, opponents — found either through Facebook or by searching for a friend’s name — take turns creating and guessing words in the crossword puzzle.

CrossMyWord just launched in the iTunes App Store last Friday, and is free to download. It works on iPhone and is optimized for iPad, but isn’t expected to come to the Google Play store for a couple months.

The app is the creation of husband-and-wife team Igor and Marina Litinsky, who previously created a popular children’s app, Goodnight ABC’s, through their company, Quasar Alliance. Marina Litinsky says the inspiration basically came from her love of crossword puzzles. She was looking to build her own and, out of the thousands of word-game apps available in the App Store, couldn’t find one that would allow her to do it.

Unfortunately, the turn-by-turn nature of the game means you can’t build an entire crossword puzzle upfront and then challenge a friend to solve it, or, conversely, solve a friend’s wholly created puzzle. Each participant builds on top of the previous move. There’s a “Pass and Play” option that essentially lets you build a whole puzzle by playing against yourself, though that type of crossword puzzle gets boring pretty quickly.

And the app, since it’s free, does run banner ads in between moves. But these aren’t (yet) like the full-screen, lingering ads in some, ahem, other mobile games.

Okay, now that I’ve given you more distractions, I’m going to go dust off my shelf to make room for this prize-winning story and tackle other, pressing summer news.

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When AllThingsD began, we told readers we were aiming to present a fusion of new-media timeliness and energy with old-media standards for quality and ethics. And we hope you agree that we’ve done that.

— Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, in their farewell D post