This section illustrates novel uses of the PuzzleMe™ platform. Of course, PuzzleMe is also used by traditional publishers to run daily puzzles of the kind that appear in newspapers. For such use cases, take a look at the sites PuzzleMe powers for The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Newsday and The Atlantic. These sites illustrate a complete solution based on PuzzleMe, including a puzzle picker, multiple series and sizes of puzzles, and monetization. Not visible, however, is PuzzleMe’s ability at the backend to seamlessly ingest puzzles from a syndicate or constructor, to manage the editing and publication workflows, and to provide detailed analytics on puzzle plays.
Using PuzzleMe, publishers and websites can promote brands playfully on their sites.
For example, here is a crossword puzzle that The New Yorker Brands Labs ran for Duolingo. The experience folds in the Duolingo brand colors, sounds, mascot, and is an alternate and engaging way for Duolingo to reach its target audience. Along with the distinctive visuals and audio elements, the puzzle includes a call to action in the completion message directing solvers to the Duolingo website.
Movie and product launches
This themed puzzle created by the Postmedia group in Canada demonstrates how puzzles can be part of launches and events. The puzzle is based on Christopher Nolan’s blockbluster movie Tenet and was released in Canada during the movie’s promotion. All the clues and answers are related to this movie and can be used as an engagement tool to create buzz amongst audiences.
This example illustrates how a puzzle can be themed for different types of events.
Click here to try the puzzle on the National Post’s website.
Virtual events and contests
Boswords is an annual crossword puzzle tournament held in Boston, Massachusetts. In 2020, due to the Covid pandemic, they held the entire tournament online on the PuzzleMe platform, accompanied with live Twitch broadcast (see here). The online tournament saw higher turnout than the in-person tournaments. Boswords followed this up with a 9 week league which was also very successful.
Boswords is running a full calendar of events including two puzzle tournaments and two leagues in 2021.
The puzzles are run in PuzzleMe’s contest mode, which means that the participant cannot reveal or check answers, and is prompted to provide an identification code at the beginning. PuzzleMe’s analytics backend provides the Boswords directors the players’ completion time and scores, which are downloaded as a CSV file and used to publish standings.
Crosswords for local news
The New Haven Independent regularly creates crossword puzzles on topics of local interest. The puzzles include multimedia, and are highly topical to the conversation in New Haven. Click here to go to the site.
Another example of multimedia puzzles in a local news context is a set of puzzles done by WCPO, a TV station in Cincinnati. Click here to solve a puzzle on Cincinnati neighborhoods.
Encyclopaedia Britannica is a major learning site for school children and young learners across the world. Britannica’s content editors create crossword and word search puzzles on topics of general interest as a part of their site. The puzzles span a wide range of topics from Shakespearean characters to important battles of the world, and from iconic car brands to types of fishes.
Click here to go to the Britannica site and play some of these fun puzzles.
Another great use of crosswords is to build vocabulary. Merriam-Webster uses the PuzzleMe platform to engage kids with crossword puzzles related to its words-of-the-week newsletter.
Depicted on the left is a beautiful puzzle with a heart-shaped center by Dr. Bruce Haight called Cardiac Cruciverbalism. You can solve it on the crosswords page of the Journal of the Medical Association (JAMA).
On the left is a visual puzzle on U.S. national parks in which players identify the park based on an iconic image. It illustrates the use of a green theme in the grid instead of the traditional black. PuzzleMe can be themed with fonts, colors, masthead and imagery to match your brand or preference. Click here to play the live puzzle.
Crosswords are a great tool for language learners. With PuzzleMe, you can easily create vocabulary puzzles with multimedia in them. Shown alongside is a Spanish-English puzzle (Click here to play it.) Teachers have created a wide range of puzzles on the usage of topics like idioms and proverbs, numbers, everyday objects and grammar.
We can help customers generate such puzzles automatically, and they can be graded by level of difficulty of words. PuzzleMe’s creator provides for a way to users to provide a list of words which can be converted into a crossword puzzle format. This could be used as a basis for a personalized language learning system, where PuzzleMe creates puzzles for each user based on their past performance.
Try Merriam-Webster’s crossword puzzles based on their weekly newsletter on vocabulary for kids.
LA-based comedian Zach Sherwin and ace constructor Will Nediger collaborate on some brilliant and fun crossword puzzles with a lot of rhyming and punny clues. (What’s a capital that is in Czechoslovakia, but not in Czechoslovakia?)
The puzzles are solved on stage (with a lot of music and comedy!) in front of a live audience in different cities. For such live events, PuzzleMe can be configured to project the puzzle on the big screen with a popup-clue mode, so that the audience can focus on one clue at a time, while keeping the whole grid in view.