This is the centennial year for the modern crossword puzzle, which first appeared in the old New York World newspaper in December 1913. These apps are for those who enjoy traditional crosswords or are looking for similar word games to get them thinking outside the boxes.
Although this app is pricey, it is a traditional crossword aficionado's dream. It offers access to about 20 daily and weekly crosswords published in newspapers and magazines. Puzzles are updated daily. (Some require an additional "premium" charge.) You can use erasable pencil mode, or if you're really confident, use pen mode and make your answers permanent. The app's developer, Stand Alone, has an Android version simply titled Crosswords ($9.99).
Words With Friends
(iOS, Android; free)
Doing crosswords is a solitary affair -- outside of asking your significant other when you're stumped, "What's a nine-letter word ending in 'Q' for avocado?" This wildly popular mashup of crosswords and Scrabble allows you to compete against someone in the same house or on a different continent. Looking for opponents? Send an invitation to your Facebook friends, contacts in your phone's address book or directly to other players by using their screen names. The game can also assign a random opponent.
Word Search Puzzles
Not quite as venerated as crosswords, word-find puzzles -- where you locate real words hiding among a babel of letters -- became popular in the 1970s and maintain a big fan base today. This highly rated app by developer IceMochi is among the most popular of the numerous word-find puzzles because it offers several modes of play. iOS users can check out Word Scramble (free), also from IceMochi.
(iOS, Android; $1.99)
In this stylish app -- basically a combination of Words With Friends and word-find puzzles -- strategy is as important as finding words. The goal is to build a tower of words, and the longer the words, the more points you earn. The game becomes almost chesslike, because you have a limited number of tiles and moves, so planning ahead is vital. SpellTower can be played in several solo modes, or you can compete against online opponents.