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'The Daily' Is One of the Best Values On the App Store Because of One Thing: The Crossword Puzzle

News Corp.’s iPad newspaper “The Daily” is only a few days old, but now that I have spent some time with it, I think it may be one of the best overall values on the App Store. Why? The crossword puzzle.

Every day “The Daily” features a new crossword puzzle and sudoku game. The interface is the best I have seen for any crossword puzzle on the iPad, and the puzzles are challenging but still fun. In short, for many people the crossword and sudoku puzzles alone may be worth the $0.14 a day.

All that other stuff, the “news” and “content,” it’s all just gravy.

But I have a suggestion for Rupert Murdoch and Jesse Angelo: the iPad is not a piece of paper, so you have an opportunity to really innovate here.

Crossword puzzles and sudoku took off in newspapers because there are only so many things you can do on paper. The iPad does not have those limitations, so there is no reason that the puzzles should only be ports of newspaper games.

Imagine if Angry Birds were available as part of “The Daily” instead of as a standalone app. Every day you get one or two new levels to play. That would be a damn good reason for people to open up “The Daily” every morning.

If I were Murdoch, I would hire a game designer for “The Daily,” someone who could create a fun, casual, quick game that can be included every day along with the crossword and sudoku puzzles.

Will it be as good as Angry Birds? Probably not, but it doesn’t have to be.

When I opened “The Daily” this morning, the first thing I did was go to the Apps & Games section to look at the day’s crossword puzzle. As more people subscribe, I suspect others will be doing the same thing. News Corp. should embrace the iPad’s gaming abilities, and incorporate it more fully into the newspaper.

The puzzles are already a good start, bu the opportunity for innovation is almost limitless.

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