I've often thought that Jayisgames doesn't have anywhere near enough word games for my liking, and this almost makes up for that lack. This is a quick, clever Flash crossword puzzle from Taro Ito of Gamedesign, who brought us the recently-reviewed White Jigsaw and other addictive favourites of this site (Dice Wars anyone?), and it lives up to his previous standard.
Crossword works without clues. Instead, a partially-completed crossword is shown, with the remaining unused letters in a panel to the right. To put a letter where you think it belongs, click in a space on the crossword, then click the letter that you think it is. The letter will be moved from the right-hand panel to the puzzle, but watch out—it will appear in ALL the spaces where an identical letter is to be found. In other words, if the clue is _ _ Y, and you decide this must be SAY, click on the first space. All spaces with that letter will turn orange, and you can then click on the letter S to fill in those spaces. However, if you're wrong and the word is really FLY, you can click on S and then F in the right hand panel to replace it. Alternatively, you can click on the space bar in the right hand column to clear any letter already placed.
The game starts you out on Beginner level, and as you beat each level, lets you progress to Easy, Normal, Hard and Expert. If you get stuck, you can click Give Up, which will solve the puzzle for you—you can then click Reset and get a new puzzle on the same level.
Analysis: I love this game! I really like the fact that all the words seem to be real words that an English speaker would use, not those horrible jargon words that only ever get trotted out for word puzzles (Text Twist really gets my goat in this respect). It's easy to pick up, but still challenging.
The only very minor quibble is that I would prefer to have separate buttons for Reset and Give Up—I'd like to be able to Reset the puzzle I'm playing now if I've dug myself into a hole of wrongness, and only Give Up if I'm finding it genuinely impossible. If you've a hankering for word puzzles, speak fluent English and have five minutes to spare I think you'll really like this.