YOU GOT IT. In last week’s hint (see below), I asked why readers would object to the placement of elements on the page. Here are your responses (with some notes in italics):
??? at the Cairo (IL) Citizen:
People would object because they could be placed where it would be easier to fold the paper to do the puzzles.
Grant Mahon at the Reading (PA) Eagle:
Design your puzzle pages so the crossword fits on a quarter of the page and does not break across a horizontal or vertical fold of the broadsheet. This way, someone can fold up the paper and sit in a comfy chair when they do the puzzle. Learned this the hard way at a focus group for our redesign a couple years ago.
Don Foy at the Herald Citizen in Cookeville, TN:
Readers want the crossword puzzle in a corner. They don’t much care which corner (They prefer it to be in an “outside” corner, so they can work it more easily if they don’t want to quarter-fold the page), but they want it in a corner so they can fold the page and work the puzzle without flipping over. Sudoku puzzlers aren’t so picky, but still, we organize our comics/puzzles page to have the crossword in the lower right corner and the sudoku in the lower left. And yes, it does matter. Guess how I learned this. 😉
Patti Moran, a freelancer in Ottawa, ON, Canada:
I’m thinking it’s because they would have to rest their hand on a column of text in order to fill out the puzzles, which would probably result in their and and shirt cuff getting ink-smudged? It would be even worse for lefties! (I hadn’t thought of the ink-smudge factor, but it makes sense. Thanks!)
If they’re anything like our readers, they want the crossword puzzle above or below the fold, not on it. Don’t make them re-fold the paper to see the clues and the grid at the same time! Then there was the lady who called to complain that because we put the puzzle and the solution on facing pages, we made it too easy for her to cheat. We told her we’d do what we could, but no promises.
Pat Desmond at the Milton (MA) Times:
The crossword answer is on the same block as the question. It belongs on another page. (Actually, that’s the answer to the previous crossword).
Michelle Green at The Monadnock Shopper News in Keene, NH:
Does it relate to getting ink on their hand/sleeve as they work on the puzzles?
Chuck Hunt at the Faribault County Register in Blue Earth, MN:
It is all about the folding of the page in order to work the puzzles. You don’t want puzzles split when you fold the page to do the puzzles. My wife has a strange way of folding the entire newspaper in half the vertical way first and then in half again (part way, not exactly half) because the Sudoku puzzle in the daily paper we get always has it right on the fold. In your example, the crossword clues are on the top half of the page, while the answer box is below.
The page at the top of this hint fixes the problem….mostly. The fold still runs through the Cryptoquote, which is not as popular as the other puzzles offered here. And the puzzles are on the left because this client ran the puzzles on a lefthand page.
Thanks for your comments!