The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update


April 14, 2014

Scott Underwood: The end of crosswords cross words

You have spoken loud and clear, and we are listening.

A month ago, we changed to a different daily crossword puzzle. The change was part of a new syndicate agreement that would reduce our costs for nationally provided content, with an eye on reallocating resources to local coverage.

After looking at several examples of the new crossword, before we launched it, I believed it would be at least equal in quality to our previously daily crossword.

Boy, was I wrong about that!

We received feedback about the crossword change from a couple of dozen readers. All but a few dislike the new puzzle. Most think it’s too easy; a few find it too difficult.

Several have objected to the larger size of the puzzle, since it spills over the middle of the page and causes the puzzle worker to refold the page.

Because the puzzle is more vertical in its design, we had a choice of reducing the width from the previous crossword and making the work space and text significantly smaller, or staying with the same width allotment and making the puzzle significantly larger than its predecessor.

While we knew that the puzzle would look awkward at the larger size, we went with that. Our reasoning: It is rare to hear newspaper readers complaint that a puzzle or lettering is too large!

The bottom line: After publishing the new daily crossword for a month, we’re going to go back to the original daily crossword. The change will take place as early as this coming Saturday.

Thanks to all for your input about the crosswords. We want to give you the best puzzles we can. While it’s impossible to please everyone, I’m confident that the old puzzle is the majority’s choice.

As for the associated cost, I was able to negotiate a lower fee than what we had paid for the original daily crossword. So it is — as they say — a win-win situation.

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