11.04.2009

Why not try Across Lite?

We've had a lot of comments from people talking about how they write their crossword answers (different colors of pen, pencil, etc.) We encourage you to download the Across Lite program, which allows you to print out the puzzle in larger print than your newspaper uses as well as letting you solve with on-screen with your keyboard rather than using pen on paper. Much easier to change a letter in a square, too—no write-overs or erasures.

Step 1: Download Across Lite here. Choose the version that best matches your computer. The software is free; you need not be a New York Times subscriber to download Across Lite from its site. (This section edited 11/5 to change the link.)

Step 2: Sign up for an account at Cruciverb.com. This is also free; the paid "gold membership" gets you access to the clue database, but you don't need to pay anything for access to the L.A. Times crossword. Cruciverb's owner, Kevin McCann, doesn't share your information with anyone and you won't get spammed.

Step 3: Log into Cruciverb.com and download the L.A. Times crossword from the "Today's Puzzles" section in the sidebar on the right. (A little lower in the sidebar is the L.A. Times archive with the last month's puzzles, so you can catch up on any puzzles you missed.)

Step 4: Launch Across Lite and open the puzzle file in Across Lite.

Step 5: (A) If you wish to solve on screen, you can customize the display, enlarging the grid. The Tab and Enter/Return keys jump you to the next answer, and you can also use the arrow keys to move around. (B) To solve on paper, select Print and follow the steps to print out. For a Sunday puzzle, you might want to choose the "Print using two pages" option"—when the clues are on the same page as the grid, the print is tiny, but the two-page option uses larger print.

28 comments:

Crockett1947 said...

The puzzle is available at 7:00 p.m. the day prior to publication in the archives section at cruciverb.com.

Anonymous said...

But I don't like using the computer - I'm a paper person and prefer to use a pencil. Just old-fashioned, I guess

PuzzleGirl said...

Good stuff. Thanks for posting this, Orange. I only solve puzzles on the computer infrequently, but Across Lite makes it easy to print them out on regular paper and carry them around on a clipboard. Which is what I do. I'm nerdy like that.

I just want to add that there's a setting in the Print Preferences where you can choose how dark the "black" squares are on your print-out. Mine come out a light gray so I can still see them but I don't use up as much toner. Print Preferences are found by choosing "Options..." then "Print..." from the Edit menu.

If, like me, your eyes don't work quite as well as they used to 20 years ago, you will especially appreciate the option of printing the Sunday puzzle on two pages. I've found that I'm much more likely to solve the puzzle correctly (and enjoy the experience!) if I can actually read the clues.

Orange said...

Anonymous, that's the beauty of Across Lite—you can print the puzzle out on plain paper, which works with pencil much better than newsprint does. Especially when it comes to erasing. And the squares are bigger than in the newspaper.

I have puzzles on a clipboard, too. I highly recommend the Oxo clipboard. You know Oxo, the kitchen tool brand with the ergonomic rubber handles? They're making office supplies now, too. The clipboard has non-slip rubber edges and a pen/pencil clip up top.

Badir said...

Across Lite is great for Windows and Macs, but, alas, it's horribly primitive and basically unusable for Linux. If you have Linux, try using "Xword" instead; it's the best alternative I've found. Anyway, I always print out the NYT puzzle with Across Lite and do all the other puzzles online with it.

Rex Parker said...

I like Black Ink, but there are some glitches I haven't figured out yet, incl. how to get the clue box wide enough to see longest clues clearly, how to print out puzzle with grid somewhere other than NW corner of page, etc. Still, interface is beautiful, and you can get to any number of free puzzles (incl. The Onion / AV club puzzle) right from the program.

jazz said...

AcrossLite is really good, but if you don't want to install anything and just play online, go to:

http://games.latimes.com/index_crossword.html?uc_feature_code=tmcal

Jazzbumpa said...

If you're running Windows 7 or Mac OS 10 or later, you need more recent versions of Across Lite. Earlier versions of AL are not compatible. As far as I can tell, they are only available here:

http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/litsoft.html

Cheers!
JzB the helpful trombonist

crazycatlady said...

I like to just go to the LA Times games puzzles on line and do that version. It's available right after midnight PST, so it's a pleasant diversion when insomnia strikes. I find it to be more user friendly than Across LIte.

Anonymous said...

@Orange - thanks for the tip about printing out and getting a larger crossword by my newspaper, unlike the NY Times, has a really, really large LA Crossword version so I'm grateful. One day I'll think up a pseudonym!

Sfingi said...

Some day. Presently I spend 2-4 hrs. a day at The Home(no WIFI)and am caring for 2 houses. My puzzle must be portable. When my mother passes, we'll see.

However, I would like someone to point me to a book or video explaining how to get hyperlink and photos in. The suggestions from the forum didn't help since they included other technical terms.

Anonymous said...

I prefer solving "easier" puzzles interactively using Across Lite. However, for Thursday through Saturday (NYT level) puzzles, I prefer to print them and solve with hardcopy.

Here a tip for saving printer toner: after opening the puzzle file with Across-Lite, click the "Options" button on the toolbar, select the "Printing" tab, and choose the gray box next to the "No fill" box. That way, the squares appear in light gray and don't use so much toner.

wilsch said...

I put my puzzles on a clipboard, too. I usually put the puzzles inside of a pad of paper and do them on company time like Stanley on The Office.

mac said...

@PuzzleGirl: I took your advice and decided to get a clipboard. My husband had to go out on errands and offered to get me one. He went to Costco and came home with three of them!! Now every member of this family has one. I just realized I don't have a pencil-clip, though.

Orange said...

Oh, Mac. Here's the OXO clipboard with the pencil/pen clip. Send your husband out to the office supply store!

mac said...

@Orange: Thank you! I even have a Staples card! By the way, I'm having a hard time finding the .9 Pentel these days, I may find them there as well.

ddbmc said...

@Sfingi, this is the web page that helped me "get" embedding. @Shrubb5alerted me to it:

http://web-tracker.blogspot.com/2006/09/insert-link-into-myspace-bulletin-how.html

Hope it helps. Sorry about your mom. Been there.

@Mac and @Orange--Sweeeet clip board!

Orange said...

Mac, Staples is indeed where I find my Pentel Twist-Erase 0.9 pencils. You'd think two would be a lifetime supply since they're refillable, but they seem to wander off.

mac said...

Right, or I can't find the refills. Always put them in too safe a place...

Orange said...

Did you check the Ziploc bag with all the extra lead and erasers? It's right there behind the scissors. At least it is on my desk...

mac said...

Don't remind me. I'm still trying to retrace my steps a week ago when I put some dvd's on my kitchen counter, then cleaning up before guests arrived, never to see them again..... Blaming the husband, of course.

Chaitanya said...

Thanks for the post..

I downloaded Across Lite and it works great with the LA times and CrosSynergy puzzles but I don't have a timer. Is there a special plugin which I need to get for the timer...

Thanks...

Joon said...

oy, don't give them the old litsoft link! that hasn't been updated for a zillion years (windows 3.1?!?), and you get a (very) old version of across lite. jazzbumpa's link takes you to the current version, which includes the timer, among other features.

Chaitanya said...

Joon,

Thanks a lot! I got acrosslite 2.0 and now have the timer...

123 123 said...
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jeremy said...

Where doe the LAT Across Lite files come from on the cruciverb.com website? Do they get them from the LAT or are they created in AL from the LAT version (online or on paper)?

Orange said...

Crossword editor Rich Norris sends the Across Lite files to Cruciverb.com.

jeremy said...

how generous!