Gone are the days when completing a crossword puzzle meant hunkering over a folded newspaper or a puzzle book. You can still do crosswords that way, of course, but like everything else, they've also gone electronic. Across Lite is an easy-to-use crossword application that supports puzzles from some of the U.S.'s top newspapers, including The New York Times and Washington Post. The program retains a lot of the pen-and-paper experience of doing a crossword while offering a convenient electronic format.
If you've ever done a crossword before, and if you have even the most basic computer skills, you'll be able to master Across Lite in no time. The puzzle is on the left, the clues are on the right, and a handful of illustrated buttons across the top give users access to the program's major features. Moving around the puzzle is easy to do using the Tab key or mouse, and unlike with newspaper puzzles, erasing a mistake is as easy as clicking a button. The program even lets users select a pencil tool for entering answers that they're not quite sure of. Users can check individual letters or words, and a reveal button shows letters or words that can't be figured out. Across Lite comes with nine sample puzzles, but it's really meant to be used with puzzles downloaded from the Internet. The program's Help file is well-written and thorough. Overall, we found Across Lite easy to use, and we have no complaints.
Across Lite is free and installs politely, but leaves a file behind upon removal. We recommend this program to all users.