Black Ink & Multiple Letter Answers

May 29th, 2007

Black Ink 1.0.4 includes a number of fixes to the multiple character support of the application. In particular there were major problems with Undo and with revealing answers, when multiple letters were present. Thanks to a dedicated Black Ink user for bringing these problems to my attention!

Anybody who’s solved a lot of crosswords is familiar with the fun games puzzle authors like to play. Sometimes a clue will contain a play on words, or sometimes an answer will contain an especially creative spelling of a word. I recently came across a clue for a type of running race. As I filled in the adjacent clues I became more and more confounded by the clue. It seemed as though every other letter in the answer was a “K”! I’ve never heard of a KAKAKAKA race! Turns out the answer was “KKKKKKKKKKRACE”. That was obvious, wasn’t it? A 10-K race! Another answer in the puzzle was “DDDGLASSES”.

Another trick puzzle authors sometimes use is asking solvers to enter more than one letter into a square. This is the last thing most of us is expecting, but when you stumble upon it, it’s a sweet victory. Usually the multiple letter answers are the same throughout a puzzle. That is, a three word run like “SET” temporarily becomes a first-class “letter” for the puzzle:

Once you figure out the first instance of the trick, you’re on guard for remaining answers. When there’s a gimmick to a puzzle, noticing it is the turning point to solving the rest quickly.

To enter multiple letters with Black Ink, just right-click the square, or select “Enter Multiple Letters” from the Edit menu.

4 Responses to “Black Ink & Multiple Letter Answers”

  1. Dan Moren Says:

    I once had a puzzle in which two squares contained numbers. That took a while to figure out.

  2. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Dan: there are also some puzzles that contain shapes in the answer. For instance, a heart shape. Unfortunately, Black Ink doesn’t support this yet. But they’re so rare that it isn’t too much of a shortcoming.

  3. Carl Says:

    Daniel: Use Unicode, eg. ♡ or ♥

  4. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Carl: I will definitely do so if Unicode covers the entire set of required symbols. There is actually a list of symbols that is supported by the Across Lite format, and I’m not sure if all of them are adequately represented in Unicode or not.

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