The Sun Computer Crosswords 5 (Akom) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action

The Sun Computer Crosswords 5
By Akom
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #49

Sun Computer Crosswords 5

A cracking crossword is not something you'd expect in the Sun, but living modestly beneath the bingo and right next door to the star signs is a decidedly enjoyable cerebral assault course. These puzzlers, having been compiled into countless books, are now making their presence felt on the CPC.

Akom Ltd, under licence to News Group Newspapers Ltd, have released The Sun Computer Crosswords Volume 5 ("Now That's What I Call Crosswords Vol 5." perhaps?), an ideal way for budding cryptographers to cut their teeth. Not that the seasoned campaigner should feel left out, because there's enough wordplay here even for the crossword freak who just lives for idiograms and synonyms.

The best thing about this package is the gentle way it introduces novices to the intriguing world of the anagram, word split and palindrome. An analysis of the first puzzle is included in the manual, for example, as is a list of the abbreviations used in the clues.

The puzzle is presented in a simple and easily understood format. The crossword sits at the top of the screen, you select a clue by its number and the poser is printed below along with a solution box - just in case an answer springs to mind.

This is no simple question and answer session, the program being designed to help you understand crossword dynamics. It features four levels of help to suit everyone from absolute beginners to those swine who finish The Times in less than ten minutes.

Clues are first presented in cryptic form, and the help option may be employed to determine the way to the question should be attacked: An signifies an anagram, Do for an action, Du meaning word division and so on. This breakdown helps you work out what clues to look for in the question itself. Even if you get completely stuck, the learning curve is enhanced when the solution is revealed. You won't get the hang of it straightaway, but you'll soon pick up the technique for cracking the toughest of crosswords.

The Times crosswords are also available on the CPC as are the previous four volumes of Sun brain teasers. The later modules all contain a team game feature, but that's not what crosswords are about: it's the duel of wits between the puzzler and the puzzled, a brain battle for pride, not points.

Good News

P. Educational, challenging and fun.

Bad News

N. Expensive.

Hal And Me

The Computer Crosswords project has been a labour of love for author David Akenhead. David, son of Edmund, Editor of Times crosswords from 1964-1983, has now been published across some 14 formats, having begun in BBC Basic.

It was the film of Arthur C. Clarke's 2010, curiously enough, that gave David the clue he needed. In it, the Americans and the Russians devise a docking communications system to enable them to rescue a US module disabled near Jupiter. The method - a compiler program with a stacking device that lets it out in chunks, and a different program to unload it - gave David the inspiration to solve the complexities of fitting fifty crosswords onto a single disk.

Did you know, by the way, that the "modern" crossword was invented by a silent order of French monks in the 15th century?

Steve Carey

Other Amstrad CPC464 Game Reviews By Steve Carey

  • Keyword Front Cover