From the Editor: So, what’s with all the puzzles on the Courier?

Larry Johnson, the editor and publisher of the Cobb County Courier seated in an office chair in front of a small table with a laptop in article about Cobb County Courier Meet the EditorLarry Johnson, the editor and publisher of the Cobb County Courier

If you look over the Courier’s homepage today you’ll notice that puzzles and quizzes have played a prominent role on our recent updates.

Don’t worry, we’re not dropping the news to become a puzzle site.

I’ve wanted to add crossword puzzles to our mix for quite some time. And I already had a widget to add quizzes that I’ve underutilized.

Several things happened recently to lead to my experimentation with crossword puzzles and quizzes this weekend.

First, we’ve been doing a lot of COVID-19 coverage. The news has been nearly consistently bad, and I found myself craving some light stories and entertainment.

When the news stories slowed down for the holiday weekend it gave me time to focus on the puzzles and quizzes.

Then I noticed that the Cobb County Public Library introduced a crossword puzzle, and that they were using a tool called Crosshare to create the puzzles.

I have a crossword software system used by professional puzzle writers, but it’s very complicated and hard to use. The last time I used it the crossword puzzle I designed took more than four hours to make.

On the other hand I found Crosshare very user-friendly. My first puzzle, published yesterday, was no masterpiece but it worked. My second puzzle was much better, and I figured out how to theme it for Cobb County.

After I posted the crossword puzzle this morning, I decided why not add a quiz?

I’m particularly fond of quizzes because they can be used as educational tools.

So I posted a ten-question quiz about Cobb County government.

I plan on making those a regular feature, and might even divide them into specialized recurring categories: Cobb government, Smyrna government, local history, Marietta government, schools, and so forth. There is no shortage of categories, and I could pick 30 categories and cycle through each one over the month (the quizzes only take about an hour to put together, and if they attract readers, it’s an hour well spent).

I would like feedback on the puzzles and quizzes. Let me know if they are technically easy to use on your computer or mobile device, and if the questions for the quizzes and the clues for the crossword puzzles are a good satisfying mix of easier and harder.

You can leave a comment here or on the Courier’s Facebook page.

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