New York Times Premium
  • [EDITED By Red Sweater: Title was changed from "questions about Black Ink" to be more easily identifiable by other reader]

    Wow, this is exciting! I missed MacXword when I got my MacBook; AcrossLite works, but just feels so un-Maclike. I just bought my license.

    I've got a few questions, though:

    First, just a tip: looks like you can even get (if you're a subscriber) normal NYT crosswords with Black Ink (presumably it shares cookies with Safari or something), but you'll need to use an undocumented escape for the URL: [eliding]

    Now, a few "do you support this" questions: does Black Ink unscrambling NYT puzzles? How about the "notepad" feature? Or the feature where on certain gimmicky puzzles, certain letters are circled?
  • Note that I tried to post the URL for NYT crosswords, but Akismet thought it was spam. Trying again: http://www.nytimes.com/premium/xword/%b%d%y.puz
  • Thanks glasser - I noticed that with the NYT thing too, but wasn't exactly sure how the magic was working, so didn't want to endorse it just yet. I want to work the NY Times subscription into the documentation/interface somehow, because I think Black Ink + NY Times Subscription == Happiness. :)

    Unfortunately Black Ink doesn't support unscrambling NYT puzzles. This is a long-standing deficiency since the MacXword days, and has to do with the scrambling format being a private thing between NYT and Litsoft (the Across Lite format people). I'm not sure what I can do about this but I'll definitely be looking into it.

    The notepad feature - it supports it, but only for "reading" existing notes. Would it be valuable to you to use the notepad to add notes to puzzles? I decided to wait and gather feedback about this before doing too much work on it.

    Black Ink does work with the "circled letters" type puzzles, and allows you to enter multiple characters for those gimmicks. It does not currently work with the "symbols" where there's a bunch of teddy bears or whatnot. I'm going to look into that :)

    Hope this helps, and thanks for purchasing a license so quickly.

    Daniel
  • Yeah, all I'm looking for with notepad and circled letters is knowing that when I'm solving a puzzle, I can see everything that the constructor is trying to tell me. So it sounds like what you have is great!

    (I also noticed that pulling today's NY Sun puzzle (http://www.nysun.com/crosswords/puzzle_dir/archive_dir/nys070321.puz) it showed up as already filled-in... but it looks like that's actually just the puzzle file itself today, oddly enough.)

    And yeah, there was no question that I would purchase a license once this program came back. (I wasn't first, was I? :-) )
  • That's a really wacky mistake by the NY Sun :) Kind of takes the fun out of it, doesn't it...

    You weren't first, but you were close!

    Daniel
  • glasser said:
    First, just a tip: looks like you can even get (if you're a subscriber) normal NYT crosswords with Black Ink (presumably it shares cookies with Safari or something), but you'll need to use an undocumented escape for the URL: [eliding]

    I could not get this to work, so if there is a trick or something special required (beyond the Premium subscription) to make this happen, please post the secret.
  • Hi Vicky - did you use the updated URL that glasser posted?

    The "trick" seems to be that Black Ink (because it uses the standard Mac networking calls) gets the benefit of using Safari's cookies. So if you go to NYTimes Premium with Safari, and have cookies turned on and log in, then afterwards it should work from Black Ink. I've found it works for weeks or even months after I log in through the web. Perhaps you are using another browser besides Safari?

    image

    That's what my preferences look like for the premium web source I added. I'll probably try to add this as a default source and maybe detect if the site rejects the user, and redirect them to the site where they can sign up for premium.

    Let me know if this helps at all.

    Daniel
  • This is great... I'm so excited that this program exists, and I love that you've set it up to download straight from the NYT premium site.

    Currently, it looks like the program automatically downloads today's puzzle (i.e. the puzzle with today's date). In future versions, could you implement functionality to download other dates as well? For example, the times usually posts crosswords online the evening before they are published in the paper, so it would be great to be able download tomorrow's crossword as well (since it is already available online, but the program doesn't automatically download it because it is labeled with tomorrow's date). Being able to choose a custom date would be great... if you implemented this, I would buy a license in a heartbeat.

    Thanks!
  • Hi Stillm! I should clarify that as the program is shipped it doesn't download directly from the premium site. Only with the additional URL discussed in this thread does it do it.

    That said, I think the idea to be able to download previous dates is a good one. In fact, I've been thinking of adding something along the lines of a "subscription" service to Black Ink that could collect puzzles over time and always let you know when there are new ones (while keeping the older ones).

    I'm not sure exactly how this will evolve, but I'll keep your suggestion in mind about being able to grab older puzzles on a whim.

    Daniel
  • I could imagine a little calendar window for each web subscription. (Something that would approximate what you can get at Will Johnston's puzzle pointers page: http://www.fleetingimage.com/wij/xyzzy/07-nyt.html)
  • Interesting idea glasser - I will definitely keep that in mind as I explore possibilities for improving the "subscription" idea...
  • In order to get the NYT Premium puzzle to load the name in the web source field had to be 'New York Times Premium' exactly. I didn't realize it mattered the first time I tried, so even though I had the URL correct, the puzzle wouldn't load.

    I would LOVE to see a date picker for the web puzzle chooser. I don't know about other web sites, but then there'd be access to a bunch of NYT puzzles for premium subscribers.

    Thanks!
  • thf, I'm pretty sure that's not true... it works for me calling it "New York Times".
  • Yeah, the name of the source shouldn't matter. So maybe it was just a solar flare or something :)

    Some ability to peer into the puzzle archives is definitely a cool idea.
  • OK then, try changing the name to 'NYT Premium' and tell me what you get...
  • I think I know what's going on, thf. Somehow you got a bad copy of the puzzle into the folder "NYT Premium", in your downloaded Puzzles folder. When Black Ink tries to download, if there's already a file in the folder, it just uses that. That is usually a good idea, except of course if the file is bad.

    When you changed the name of the source, it also changes the name of the download folder, so Black Ink doesn't have a bad copy of the puzzle in there anymore.

    Makes sense now.

    Daniel
  • Daniel said:
    Unfortunately Black Ink doesn't support unscrambling NYT puzzles. This is a long-standing deficiency since the MacXword days, and has to do with the scrambling format being a private thing between NYT and Litsoft (the Across Lite format people).

    It's DRM all over again!
  • I have a quick idea about the NYT Premium unscrambling. They give you a code, but they also post a puzzle with the solutions unscrambled. Maybe if you could just re-download and file merge, or just grab the solutions from the new file.

    Great product, btw! Especially since they wont deliver me a paper NYT here.
  • Markemer: that's an interesting idea. I'll have to look into this with my premium account :) Thanks for suggesting it.

    Daniel
Start a New Discussion

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!