Thursday, March 7, 2013

Another way to support your constructors (Puzzle No. 3,274)

Two weeks ago, I posted on crowdfunding of puzzle projects as an alternative to publishing books.  There are lots of good things about it: it makes it easier for new constructors to get paid for their work (traditional publishers would rather work with established names than take a chance on someone new); it gives constructors an opportunity to try out new kinds of puzzles (ditto), it makes the economics work for a small press run, and it's often cheaper for us solvers since middlemen and paper companies are cut out of the process.

This week, Hot and Trazom point out another advantage of new publication platforms: you can put them on iPads and other mobile devices.  They proudly announce Out of Left Field: a collection of their first twenty The Nation cryptics, published by Puzzazz.  They have apps for iOS devices and for Kindle.  Hot and Trazom like the platform not only for its look and interface (it has a handwriting recognition feature), but also for its particularly elegant hint options: you can get little hints like the dividing point between wordplay and definition in a clue (great for beginners) or bigger hints like multiple letters.

The app is free, and there are some free puzzles to try out.  You pay just for the puzzle e-books.  Out of Left Field is just $4.99 (a quarter a puzzle: you can't play pinball for a quarter any more!), and new editions will be out every six months.  I'm going to give it a try, and will have a review here for you next week.

On to this week's The Nation cryptic...

Puzzle No. 3,274

Link to puzzle

Degree of difficulty (by standards of this weekly puzzle): moderate, not as easy as it looks.

Hozom's comment: "'E-book'? That's a word?" in which we learn that Hot solves puzzles on his iPhone  and Trazom favors Across Lite on his computer, and both of them occasionally feel guilty about spending too much time solving.

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If you're responding to a hint request, please remember not to give more information than necessary. More direct hints are allowed after Monday.