Bringing Crosswords to Your Computer Screen!
Across Lite is an application that enables you to create, publish, and solve crossword puzzles on your computer.
On this page I'm going to explain in more detail what this neat little application does and how you can get hold of it. When I get some time, I'll even show you a demo or two to convince you that there is nothing tricky involved. Stay tuned for that one!
Oh, and did I mention that it is totally free? I thought that might interest you ;-)
For Crossword Solvers
For crossword solvers, Across Lite allows you to throw away the pen and paper and solve crosswords using a mouse and keyboard.
To do this, you simply locate the puzzle you want to solve (from a website, blog, or online store, for example), download it to your computer, and then open it!
Well, let's be a bit careful here. The application won't work with just any crossword puzzle. Just as Word documents can be recognized by the .doc extension at the end of their file names, you can recognize crossword puzzles that are suitable for Across Lite by their .puz extension.
When you open a .puz crossword puzzle, it will look like this on your computer screen...
Using a very easy-to-master interface, you highlight slots in the crossword grid using your mouse, and enter your answers directly from your keyboard.
And once you've downloaded a puzzle to your computer, you don't need the internet anymore — you can solve it offline at your leisure.
Plenty of crossword publishers, especially major newspapers, offer their puzzles in the .puz format nowadays. High quality examples include the...
- New York Times
- LA Times, and
Some crossword publishers allow you to access their puzzles for free, while others work on a paid subscription basis. Often, you have to pay for access to current
puzzles while getting free access to archived
puzzles. Either way, there's no shortage of fun to be had with this little number!
For Crossword Publishers
For crossword publishers and distributors, this tool enables you to make your puzzles available in a format that others can easily use to solve them online.
If you have a website or blog, for example, you can simply upload your puzzles to your host server. You then make your crosswords available to your visitors by means of ordinary links on your web pages. This assumes that your host allows you to upload .puz files, of course — I mention this here because it turns out that mine doesn't :-(
For Crossword Constructors
If you're a crossword constructor wanting to get your puzzles published in a newspaper, you'll need to send your puzzle to the crossword editor. Each editor has their own rules and regulations regarding how you should submit your puzzle. Many newspapers accept puzzles in Across Lite format (in other words, as .puz files attached to an email, say).
Here are some of the major American publications that accept this format...
- Chronicle of Higher Education
- Crosswords Club
- LA Times
- Simon & Schuster
- Tribune Media Services
But how do you create a crossword puzzle in the Across Lite format?
Well, the cool thing is that, although it's a bit time-consuming, you can create your puzzle in Across Lite format for free!
To do this, you first create your puzzle in a plain text file using certain formatting rules, and then import the text file into Across Lite. You can then export the puzzle in the appropriate .puz format, and email it off to the editor.
As always, though, there's a price you pay for taking the free option. The formatting of the text file is a very tedious business (although, it is very clearly explained in the online help). That's fine if you're just whipping up a one-off puzzle, but...
If you intend to publish crossword puzzles regularly, or even just occasionally, it would be much more efficient to purchase a professional crossword maker, like Crossword Compiler, which will generate a .puz file at the push of a button (as well as making the whole crossword-construction process easier in the first place!).
Where Can I Get It?
Across Lite is owned by a company called Literate Software Systems.
Here's where you can download it.
The desktop version of this tool is completely free, and is used very widely in the crossword industry (including major online newspapers like the New York Times!).
If you're interested in a mobile version, you can get that at the same place. (That one isn't free, but it is very inexpensive.)
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