December 14, 2018

Tech We’re Using: How the Digital Era Has Changed the Daily Crossword

A digital platform for solving also comes with a digital archive of all past puzzles, as well as other daily offerings, like Joel’s Mini Crossword and our latest word game, Spelling Bee, which I edit. A print solver is generally finished for the day once the corresponding puzzle page has been completed, but an online solver has the ability to start, stop and continue many puzzles at leisure. Progress is always saved in an account, and a login allows access on any electronic device.

On the editorial end, the cohort of online solvers adds a new ripple to our review process when we consider how a puzzle should be presented. This has always been simple in print; the solution grid is displayed in the next day’s paper, and solvers can check their work manually. However, with online solvers entering their answers against a solution key in our back end, things can get complicated, especially with tricky theme ideas that can be interpreted in various ways. We have published puzzles in the past with squares that contain multiple letters, different correct letters for Across and Down, or no letters at all.

Outside of your work, what tech product are you obsessed with?

I’m a big sports nut, and have gotten super into the app Clutchpoints for keeping up to date with pro scores and analysis. The elegant, easy-to-use interface is its selling point, and game updates display better in real time than they do in any official apps l’ve tried in the past. Clutchpoints isn’t just for one sport, either; the user can toggle between major league baseball, the N.B.A. and the N.F.L. with ease.

My favorite part of the app are the game feeds themselves. Next to each box score is a Stream tab that integrates the live play descriptions with social media updates from professional fan pages and well-known analysts. The game might already be on my TV, but now I can have its details peppered with Twitter GIFs and hot takes in the palm of my hand.

Sam Ezersky currently edits The Times’s newest word game for digital subscribers, Spelling Bee. Follow him on Twitter: @thegridkid.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/05/technology/personaltech/times-crossword-digital.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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