Crickler NewsPuzzles and Crossword
An adaptive news puzzle with fresh clues each day
"The News in Clues"
We now have several daily puzzles - an archived puzzle from 2015, 2018 and 2019 plus a Vocabulary Ordeal and various geography and other puzzles.
- What happened to the NewsPuzzles?
- Why does my handicap keep resetting to 28?
- How is my score computed?
- Can I change my handicap manually?
- If I leave the puzzle for ten minutes to answer the phone, does that affect my score?
- If I turn off my computer, will I lose the answers I have completed?
- Why does the puzzle use (UK/US) spelling and units?
- Why does the puzzle jump around?
- It says I used a hint but I did not.
- How can I support this great puzzle?
- Can I make my own puzzles?
- Can we include your daily Cricklers on our website?
- Why can't I have unlimited hints?
- I found an error.
- Y is not a vowel.
- The puzzles have too (much/little) (US/non-US) news about (politics/sports/science/entertainers/etc.).
- Can I change the font/puzzle layout?
- Are there useful keyboard shortcuts?
- Do Cricklers run on a Mac?
- Does WordZap run on a Mac?
- Do Cricklers work on mobile phones?
- What papers currently carry Cricklers?
- What is Barbara's educational background?
- What is Michael's educational background?
- Whose idea was news puzzles anyway?
- Do you reply to questions?
- What are Crickler programmed in?
What happened to the NewsPuzzles?
It became harder and harder to find good news. Many of the best sites started to charge or smothered you with ads. Many other sites, such as the New York Times, gave up trying to report news objectively and now only post articles that support their peculiar liberal narrative.
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. Handicaps run from 0 (hard) to 36 (easy). You can set them manually or have the program set them automatically.
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), 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 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.The default is set from your time zone.
Why does the puzzle jump around?
Most people like the fact that the puzzle goes straight to the next unsolved clue. There is an Auto-Advance option under Options 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?Tell your friends about Cricklers
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 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 or a non-serif font
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, Shift-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 most devices that have a regular keyboard (Window, Mac, Unix). Support for a virtual keyboard is planned.
Do Cricklers work on tablets and mobile phones?
The format is designed to do that. An iPad version is in the works and an Android version is planned.
What papers currently carry Cricklers?
A few newspapers still carry the old Flash version but that is being phased out. Please use the version at Cricklers.com.
What is Barbara's educational background?
She has a degree in Economics.
What is Michael's background?
Michael grew up in England. He has degrees in Physics and Physiology. He used to work at Microsoft where he 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 you reply to questions?
Only if you give us your email address!
What are Crickler programmed in?
We save information about your puzzles so that if you log off you can come right back where you left off. We don't collect any personal information about you.