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Crickler Newspuzzles and Crossword
Adaptive newspuzzle with fresh clues each day

"The News in Clues"
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Why does my handicap keep resetting to 28?

28 is the default handicap. Your handicap and your progress in different cricklers is saved on your hard-drive in a Flash Cookie (not to be confused with regular cookies). Some anti-spy programs have decided that Flash cookies are evil and destroy them or prevent them from being saved. This naturally messes up your puzzle information. If this happens you can either shut down your anti-spy program or see if it has a provision for allowing flash cookies you want (e.g. from certain websites). If you find this to be the case, please tell us what you did (at support@crickler.com) so we may tell others.

There are other possible explanations:

  • You have Auto-handicap switched off (under Handicap)
  • You have set Flash cookie storage to 0K. To check this, right-click the crickler screen and select Settings. Then look for Local Storage (click the folder icon). The default is 100K which is just fine. If it is less than 100K then set it to be 100K.
  • You are at a different URL. Cricklers are on the web in many places. If you go to a different website your cookies may reset.
  • You are the same website but the newspaper hosting it changed the URL. Newspapers do this from time to time – hopefully not too often.

In any of the above cases just reset your handicap manually. If setting the handicap manually doesn’t work, it’s probably your anti-spy program.

How is my score computed?
  • Your score mainly depends on how long you take to finish the puzzle. Other things that affect it are the number of hints you take and how many keystrokes you use (if you mistype a lot of letters, it can lower your score).
  • If auto-handicap is enabled (default) under Options, your handicap is adjusted to make your next puzzle easier or harder - based on your score.
  • If you don't finish a puzzle, your handicap is raised to make your next puzzle easier. If you leave a puzzle and finish it later, the time you are not there is not counted.
  • As in golf, if your handicap is higher, the challenge is easier. Handicaps currently range from 0-36. This means that people with widely different skills can solve the same clues without the puzzle being too easy or too hard for them.

Can I change my handicap manually?

Yes, under Options - however the puzzle will reset.

If I leave the puzzle for ten minutes to answer the phone, does that affect my score?

Only one minute is counted.

If I turn off my computer, will I lose the answers I have completed?

No. Your answers will still be there if the puzzle is still available (in contrast to most other online puzzles).

Why does the puzzle use US/UK spelling and units?

You can select US or UK spelling and units under Options. The flag shows the current setting.

Why does the puzzle jump around?

Most people like the fact that the puzzle goes straight to the next unsolved clue. There is an option to turn off this feature.

It says I used a hint but I did not.

Going to look at a map (e.g.) also counts as a hint.

How can I support this great puzzle?

Buy WordZap for yourself and all your friends and relations!

Tell your friends about Cricklers and get your local paper(s) to carry them on their website(s).

Can I make my own puzzles?

We can compile your puzzles for a small fee. You supply a Word file in a simple format. Ask for details.

Can we include your daily Cricklers on our website?

Yes. It is very easy to set up, no maintenance is required, and there is no charge.

Why can't I have unlimited hints?

Then you wouldn't have to think and the puzzle would not be fun.

I found an error.

Please send us a comment when you finish the puzzle. Reports of errors are welcome. We can correct Cricklers on the fly (unlike those in printed newspapers).

We find that over half the error reports we get are themselves in error (e.g. A shark is a mammal!!!!). Please check before you send one. We try to fix valid errors as soon as possible.

Y is not a vowel.

When I was in school, we were taught that Y and H were sometimes vowels and sometimes consonants (very silly really).

Some years ago we tried a test on a group of puzzle solvers. The options were 1. Mark AEIOU with a 'v', 2. Mark AEIOU and Y with a 'v'. 3. Don't mark anything. Option 2 was unequivocally the winner -- so that's why mark Y's with a 'v'.

The puzzles have too (much/little) (US/non-US) news about (politics/sports/science/entertainers/etc.).

Yes! We try to present a good mix of interesting topics.

Can I change the font/puzzle layout?

Under Options, you can choose between a serif, print or non-serif font and set the answers to show in all caps.

You can also choose the font size. If you choose the larger font the layout will change to give you fewer visible clues with a larger typeface. If you can make the window wider (on some sites only), that will give you a larger font.

Are there useful keyboard shortcuts?

Yes. Use Tab, Home, End and the arrow keys, to move around. Press F1 for Help, F7 for a hint and F8 to reset the puzzle.

Do Cricklers run on a Mac?

Cricklers run on any system that supports Flash 6.0 or higher. This includes the Mac, Linux, and Netscape and soon may include PDAs.

Do Cricklers work on mobile phones?

The format was designed to do that. There is a version for the iPhone. An iPad version is in the works and an Android version is planned.

What papers currently carry Cricklers?

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Seattle Times, Washington Post, The Boston Globe/Boston.com, The Albany Times-Union, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Brisbane Courier-Mail among others.

What is Barbara's educational background?

She has a degree in Economics.

What is Michael's background?

He has degrees in Physics and Physiology. He used to work at Microsoft and installed the spellchecker for Word 3.

Whose idea was news puzzles anyway?

In 1941, Arthur Hays Sulzberger, the then publisher of the New York Times, hired Margaret Farrar to "edit a news-based crossword" for the Times. The effort proved too hard and was replaced after a few days with puzzles prepared weeks or months ahead based on current cultural knowledge rather than current news. We like to feel we provide what Mr. Sulzberger had in mind.

Do Crickler NewsPuzzles appear in the New York Times, the London Daily Telegraph?

Not yet. They do appear in the Boston Globe the Washington Post and the Seattle Times.

Do you reply to questions?

Only if we have your email address!

How can I make my Cricklers run faster?

Get a faster PC. Make sure you have Flash 8 or higher.

What are Crickler programmed in?

Flash ActionScript (from Adobe)


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