The new Penny Dell Crosswords App update is here!

I’ve been teasing this announcement for a little while now, and today’s the day! (Well, technically, the DAY happened this past weekend, but today’s the day I’m announcing it. You know what I mean…)

ANYWAY, today I’m proud to announce the release of our new update to the Penny Dell Crosswords App!

Not only have we streamlined the user interface, but we’ve improved our smart navigation system AND updated our puzzle library and puzzle store sections!

[Here's a side-by-side image of the solving screen
and the puzzle store screen for the iPhone version.]

There’s 150 all-new puzzles for your enjoyment, complete with our signature alt-clue feature! All kinds of puzzle fun awaits you!

And that’s not all! To celebrate the release of the update, for a very limited time, ALL puzzle sets are over 60% off!

PuzzleNation has always been committed to providing the highest quality puzzles and solving experience possible, and with this new update, we are continuing that proud tradition. We hope you enjoy!

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! You can share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and be sure to check out our library of PuzzleNation apps and games!

Prep for College the Puzzly Way!

It’s summer here in the United States, which means many high-school graduates are already looking forward to starting college. But for those soon-to-be freshmen, as well as high schoolers looking for an edge before university, have you considered puzzles and board games?

Now, it comes as no shock to me, but this article from the U.S. News and World Report website might surprise some, since it lists puzzles and board games as two of its five tools to develop critical thinking skills before college!

Naturally, I’ve been an advocate of puzzles as a learning tool for a long time, so it’s gratifying to see a major publication sharing the same views and ideas.

From the article:

Collections of crossword puzzles, logic problems, riddles, sudoku, word problems and word searches can be found at your local bookstore or library. The puzzles in these books are a wonderful strategy to activate different parts of your brain for a round or two of mental gymnastics, and many collections even discuss what each puzzle is meant to target within the mind.

Allow me to expand on this for a bit. Different puzzles can target different skills, so which puzzles you solve can make a big difference when it comes to critical thinking.

Crosswords encourage deduction (figuring out words from a few common letters) and a facility with wordplay (dealing with crafty clues and alternate definitions), while word searches offer great practice in pattern recognition and quick reaction times.

And the demand that Sudoku puzzles place on active attentiveness and concentration exercises parts of the brain associated with forming new memories, encouraging better memory retention.

[All three of the above pics come from our line of puzzle apps! Perfect for puzzly pre-college practice! Shameless plug now concluded!]

But the article also mentioned that certain board games can be excellent tools for honing valuable mental skills for college.

Choose board games that require more than luck – namely, strategy – for players to win. Any game where players must carefully consider their next move, recognize patterns and remember details will aid in honing critical thinking skills.

The article goes on to suggest some classics, like Chess, Checkers, and Mastermind for learning chain-thinking (planning several steps ahead) as well as Scrabble and Boggle (speedy information analysis, as well as word formation) and Clue and Risk (anticipating and reacting to the gameplay of others).

But I think they’re excluding some prime examples of board games that could benefit younger minds.

  • You could pick a cooperative game like Pandemic or Forbidden Island, which not only encourage strategic thinking, but teamwork and the free exchange of ideas (something that forced group exercises in school never really managed).
  • You could choose a rapid-change game like Fluxx (either the board game or the card game), which forces the players to adapt quickly to constantly changing rules and gameplay (a perfect microcosm of problem-solving in the real world, where things rarely remain static for long).
  • You could select a mixed-play game like The Stars Are Right, which incorporates several forms of gameplay (in this case, pattern-forming, tile-shifting, and a strategic card game akin to Magic: The Gathering or Munchkin) and forces players to exercise different forms of strategy and puzzle-solving all at once.

Just think about it. You could turn Family Game Night or Family Puzzle Time into College Prep Time in a snap. It’s win-win, or perhaps even win-win-win. What could be simpler, or more fun, than that?

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! You can share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and be sure to check out our library of PuzzleNation apps and games!

It’s Follow-Up Friday!

Welcome to Follow-Up Friday!

For those new to PuzzleNation Blog, Follow-Up Friday is a chance for us to revisit the subjects of previous posts and update the PuzzleNation audience on how these projects are doing and what these people have been up to in the meantime.

Today, I’ve got two short updates for you.

First, there’s a new page on the blog for information about our apps and iBooks. For pictures, links, and details on our crossword, sudoku, and word seek puzzles, click here!

And be sure to bookmark it, since new apps will be added to the page as they’re released!

Second, a PuzzleNationer requested an update on this year’s Cicada 3301 puzzle.

Back in January, I wrote about the mysterious Cicada 3301, an elaborate multilayered scavenger hunt across the Internet that involves cryptography, research, and some serious cleverness to unravel.

It first appeared in January of 2012, until a few diligent and dedicated solvers unraveled its secrets, and the puzzle was shut down. Then in January of 2013, a new Cicada 3301 puzzle emerged, similarly challenging and just as short-lived.

January 2014 was no different, as the latest Cicada 3301 puzzle appeared. Unfortunately, as far as we know, no one has yet cracked it.

But one of the code wizards who solved Cicada 3301’s 2012 puzzle has come forward to offer advice to aspiring Cicada solvers:

Make sure that you have a good understanding of every part of the previous Cicada 3301 puzzles. If there is a subject you are not already well acquainted with, take your time to read and learn more about it.

Try to solve as much as possible of the earlier puzzles by yourself rather than just reading through a write-up.

For parts you do read, make sure you understand each step completely and try to think about how you would have arrived at the same conclusions by yourself.

Last but not least, enjoy the ride.

Are there any stories or features from the PuzzleNation Blog you’d like an update on? Let us know and your suggestion could be the focus of our next Follow-Up Friday!

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! You can share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr, and be sure to check out the growing library of PuzzleNation apps and games!

PuzzleNation & Penny/Dell apps, iBooks, and games!

Check out our ever-expanding library of puzzle games for your mobile devices!


Classic Sudoku

With four levels of difficulty (easy, medium, hard, and expert), a touch-to-scroll feature for entering numbers, and a timed option for competitive scoring, Classic Sudoku is available for the iPad and ready for solvers of all skill levels.

Plus, with our Candidates feature, you can list possible solutions in a box without jeopardizing your score or your time!


Penny/Dell Crosswords App and Jumbo Crosswords App

Featuring 150 all-new crosswords, Penny/Dell Jumbo Crosswords has several difficulty levels and all the topnotch features in the original Penny/Dell Crossword app!

The original Penny/Dell Crossword App is available for iPad and iPhone. It features smart navigation to move you to partially filled-in entries and an alternate-clue option to help you solve!


Classic Word Search app and iBooks

The perfect word search experience is at your fingertips with Classic Word Search!

With all sorts of delightful themed word lists, this is the word search solving you know and love, made easy with the touch of a fingertip! Just drag your finger along the words in the grid to loop them, and watch as they’re crossed off the word list one by one!

Also available for Android tablets and Kindle Fire, Classic Word Search puzzles are appropriate for all ages and come complete with interesting trivia for each themed word list.

And don’t forget that Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3 are all available as iBooks for the iPad’s eReader app! With plenty of puzzles to keep you busy, Classic Word Search is a terrific way to pass the time!

And stay tuned, fellow puzzle fiends. We look forward to adding new puzzles to our library soon!

Classic Sudoku is here!

A few weeks ago when we announced the Penny/Dell Jumbo Crosswords App, we also teased that a certain number-based puzzle would be getting the PuzzleNation App treatment very soon.

Today, I’m proud to announce that Classic Sudoku has just launched for the iPad!

With four levels of difficulty (easy, medium, hard, and expert), a touch-to-scroll feature for entering numbers, and a timed option for competitive scoring, Classic Sudoku is ready for solvers of all skill levels.

Plus, with our Candidates feature, you can list possible solutions in a box without jeopardizing your score or your time!

Classic Sudoku joins the terrific lineup of Crossword apps and Classic Word Search iBooks from PuzzleNation and Penny/Dell Puzzles, and we’re so excited to add another world-class puzzle to our mobile library.

Thanks for visiting the PuzzleNation Blog today. Stop in again soon for the latest puzzle news, app announcements, and all sorts of puzzly goodness!

App announcement time!

Hello puzzlers and PuzzleNationers!

One of the most exciting developments for PuzzleNation has been our move into the mobile puzzle-game market with our apps and iBooks. You can take PuzzleNation puzzles with you wherever you go!

And we’re proud to introduce the latest addition to our mobile lineup: the Penny/Dell Jumbo Crosswords App!

Featuring 150 all-new crosswords, Penny/Dell Jumbo Crosswords has several difficulty levels and all the topnotch features in the original Penny/Dell Crossword app!

There’s also the original Penny/Dell Crossword App, available for iPad and iPhone. It features smart navigation to move you to partially filled-in entries and an alternate-clue option to help you solve!

And of course, we have our marvelous Classic Word Search iBooks! Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3 are all available for the iPad! With plenty of puzzles to keep you busy, Classic Word Search is a terrific way to pass the time!

Classic Word Search is also available for Kindle Fire through the Amazon App Store!

And stay tuned, fellow puzzle fiends. Coming soon, a certain number-based puzzle will also be available for your mobile devices!

Thanks for visiting the PuzzleNation blog today! You can like us on Facebookfollow us on Twitter, cruise our boards on Pinterest, check out our Tumblr, download our puzzle iBooks and apps, play our games at PuzzleNation.com, or contact us here at the blog!