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USA TODAY for iPad adds crossword, stocks

One of the first iPad applications, USA TODAY (free), has been updated to version 1.5, which adds the long-awaited crossword puzzle and customizable market and stock information.

I've been waiting for the crossword puzzle to go live for a long time, and now that it's here I'm not disappointed. You'll find it in the app's Life section. Give it a tap and the day's current puzzle appears. It looks good in both landscape and portrait orientation, but I prefer landscape (at right).

The puzzle grid is in the center of the screen, flanked on either side by the down and across clues. To enter an answer, tap the beginning square once for across and twice for down. The row or column you're working on will be highlighted in purple.

At the top of the screen you'll find a hints button and an archive of the previous two weeks worth of puzzles. There's also a timer for those who like to see how quickly they can finish. Finally, the settings let you hide or display the timer, show your mistakes (there's no eraser with the iPad!) and skip filled squares.

I've always enjoyed newspaper crossword puzzles, and it's nice to see one migrate to the iPad so successfully.

Additionally, customizable stock information has been added to the app's money section. Tap the Markets box to pop that section out. You can quickly search for a company you're interested in or tap Edit Stocks to re-order the market listings or add and remove particular companies. The next time the app is launched, it will remember your settings.

Version 1.5 is a nice update to an app I've used consistently since buying my iPad. Let us say, "Well done" to everyone on USA TODAY's iPad team.

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