Weekend Distraction: Word Solitaire

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Do you have a favorite chair? A favorite spot to curl up with a good book? I have an enclosed porch with lots and lots of windows, plants, and breezes, and a great big old comfy chair. In the summer I find myself spending probably too much a lot of time in that chair, curled up with a good book. And sometimes I put the Kindle down, and fire up the iPad for a leisurely game of ….. whatever strikes my fancy.

Recently I found a new goodie. A word game that is relaxing and fun. And free. Relaxing, fun and free. A trifecta! :)

Word Solitaire is a klondike-type solitaire game. Each card has a letter, and it’s your job to move them under each other to form words-in-columns.

There is a delightfully clear tutorial for you to use when you first open the app, and I would suggest that you use it. Don’t skip it. Once you complete the tutorial, you’ll be good to go.

Here you can see one of my earliest (winning!) attempts. You turn over cards, just like in Klondike, and put them under other letters to make words.


There are some expansion packs available to purchase if you want more more more.

It’s just challenging enough to keep you interested….

but relaxing enough for a lazy afternoon in that favorite chair of yours. :) Enjoy!

Word Solitaire is free in the iTunes store for iPhone and iPad


Word Solitaire HD is free in the iTunes store for iPad, only

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Weekend Distraction: Google Maps Trivia

First of all….. I’d like to apologize (in advance) for this week’s Weekend Distraction. It’s so much fun, that you may find yourself returning to it a little too often.

Just saying’ :)

Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 8.29.18 AM The folks at Google have recently released this delightful time-eater-upper. Google Maps Trivia.

And you don’t have to go and get it from the app store. You already have it (if you have Google Maps).

(Even if you don’t have a smart phone, or an iPad, you can also play this on your computer. I’ll provide that link at the end of this post.)

It’s called Google Maps Trivia. Simple and appealing. Google will give you a random clue, and your job is to drop a pin on the correct location.

You start with 1000 miles. Miles are subtracted for any distance “off” the correct mark. When you run out of miles, you’re done. You can choose categories if you would like, or let Google throw them at you randomly.

To find this gem on your device, just open your Google Maps app.

Click on those three lines up in the upper left hand corner. Now look down the menu on the left side, and select “Google Maps Trivia.”

From Skitch-10

The game begins!

Let them give you questions, or select your own category.

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Answer the question, and drop your pin. If you’re wrong, Google will show you how far off you are, and subtract those miles from your 1000. When you run out of miles, you’re done.

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And when you get your answer RIGHT … Google cheers you on!


You can also play this game directly on your computer. I actually prefer to use it with a larger screen, and I find that I can be more accurate with my pin drops on my Macbook rather than on the smaller devices.

Follow this link to play Google Maps Trivia on your computer:

Google Maps Trivia

Have fun!

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Weekend Distraction: Bookworm

Screen Shot 2014-03-29 at 7.22.00 AMI hesitated highlighting this game. Why? Because it is so great that I have to imagine that everyone has it already. :)

But, this blog attracts lots of NEW users of the iPhone and/or iPad, and for those newbies …. you are in for a treat!!

Bookworm is an award winning game. Letters drop, and you tap them to make words. As you create words, your score grows. You’re happy and doing fine. Suddenly you see a new block, and notice that it is (gulp) on fire! Now comes the tricky part: You must use that letter before it hits the bottom, or your game is done. One burning tile isn’t too bad. But the longer you play, the more burning tiles appear. Quite a challenge! On this screen shot I waited too long to tap the burning tiles and they are starting to add up. Best to zap them as soon as you see them.


Bookworm is $1.99 in the iTunes store.

BEWARE!! If you’ve never played this before, you will find it incredibly addicting.

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Weekend Distraction: Threes!

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I don’t have a terribly long attention span for games.

But yet I enjoy pulling up an app and playing with it for a bit of challenging fun.

Threes! is the perfect go-to when you have a few minutes to kill.

(and… before I go any further, this app has NO ads, and NO in-app purchases! Yay!)

It is a lovely game. It is deceptively simple, works flawlessly and is surprisingly challenging.

You can choose to be taken through a bit of tutoring to get you started, and then away you go.

The challenge is to get the highest score you can (and then next time….beat your score.)

What to do? Combine 2’s and 1’s to make 3’s. Combine 3’s to make 6’s. Combine 6’s to make 12’s. Combine 12’s to make 24’s. Combine 24’s ….. you get the picture.



Once you try it a few times, you’ll be drawn back again and again.

I’m not alone in my enjoyment. The reviews are all quite positive:

Threes is a puzzle game with absurd amounts of charm

Threes App Review: A cute, casual and challenging puzzler

Threes! is what every indie App Store game should be!


Threes! for the iPhone or iPad is $1.99 in the iTunes store.

p.s…. my best score (so far) is 2,397 :)

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Weekend Distraction ….. (a Review, because this weekend, I’m distracted)

Screen shot 2013-10-31 at 5.33.55 PMIf you have been a reader of this blog for a while, you know that I often throw out a mindless, pass-the-time type app for your weekend consideration.  I tag this series as the “Weekend Distraction.”  

This weekend I am not supplying a weekend distraction because I am,   uh  ……..    distracted.   :lol:

I will be away for a few days,  and probably will not post again until mid-week.

Considering that so many new readers have joined this blog over the last few months, I thought this would be a good time to link to many of the previous Weekend Distractions. (Following these links should be pretty darn distracting.)   :)

Wishing you all  a nice weekend (plus a few days)!

(prices quoted may be different now, altho they were accurate when they were originally posted)

Weekend Distraction: Fairway Golf

Weekend Distraction: Falcross  a Logic Puzzle Game 

Weekend Distraction:  Flow Free

Weekend Distraction: Super Stickman Golf 

Weekend Distraction: Video Time Machine 

Weekend Distraction: Tap the Frog 1 and 2 

Weekend Distraction :  Wordsplosion

Weekend Distraction: Photo Hunt HD for iPad

Weekend Distraction: Little Things for your iPad

Weekend Distraction: RoboSockets Link Me Up

Weekend Distraction:  Greedy Spiders

Weekend Distraction:  Mahjong Towers for iPad

Weekend Distraction: Spider the Secret of Bryce Manor

Weekend Distraction: Blockwick

Weekend Distraction:  Flow Free Bridges

Weekend Distraction:  Spell Rift

Weekend Distraction:  Montezuma Puzzle 

Weekend Distraction:  Trailers

Weekend Distraction: Cryptogram for iPhone or iPad

Weekend Distraction :  Short Stories w Paragraph Shorts

Weekend Distraction: The Great Gatsby for iPad

Weekend Distraction: Finger Piano for iPad

Weekend Distraction: Jar of Marbles

Weekend Distraction: iPoe 

Weekend Distraction: Word Mess

Weekend Distraction: Skill Game for your iPad and iPhone

Weekend Distraction: Stroll Through the National Gallery

Weekend Distraction: Van Gogh Tiles and Monet Tiles

Weekend Distraction: Can Knockdown 3

Weekend Distraction: Dots

Weekend Distraction: Across Lite Crosswords

Weekend Distraction: Beatwave 

Weekend Distraction:  NPR music for your iPhone and iPad

Weekend Distraction: Spirodoodle

Weekend Distraction:  Retail Therapy, Find and Save

Weekend Distraction : TanZen for iPad or iPhone

Weekend Distraction: Swell Radio

Weekend Distraction: Unolingo

Weekend Distraction:  Jigsaw Box

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Weekend Distraction: Unolingo (a crossword with NO clues)

Screen shot 2013-10-18 at 5.39.56 PM It’s been a while since I found a new word game to enjoy. But recently I came across Unolingo, and it is definite “weekend distaction” material. :)

The premise is SO simple. You are presented with a crossword puzzle with a few letters placed on it. The rest of the squares are blank.

Your job: Finish that crossword by finding the perfect spot for all 26 letters of the alphabet. Properly placed, you will complete the crossword.

So simple… but yet it is (enjoyably) challenging.


All you do is slide a letter from its place in the alphabet up into the perfect spot in the puzzle. In the beginning, it’s easy. But as your puzzle starts to fill, you may learn that your placement choices need rearranging. :shock:

Unolingo for your iPhone and iPad is FREE in the iTunes store with 20 puzzles to try. (If you really like it and want more puzzles, they are available for purchase within the app.)

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Weekend Distraction: TanZen for iPad or iPhone

Screen shot 2013-09-27 at 5.23.46 PMIt’s the weekend, and you want to relax. Find your zen.

TanZen is a classic tangram game. It is so well done, that you can just lose yourself in the solving. It works smoothly and the controls are very intuitive. Just slide the pieces in place. Tap to flip, spin to rotate. There is even some soothing background music if you care to enjoy that, too.


I have had the TanZen game on my iPhone since the day I got my first iPhone. (The iPad hadn’t been invented yet. :lol: Obviously I’ve had this game for a long time, and it has never crashed or given me grief in any way.)

There are several versions of the game available. One for the iPhone, and another HD version for the iPad. In both cases there is a free version (I’ll provide links to the free ones). If you enjoy it, and want more puzzles, you always have the option to buy more.

But the free versions give you close to 50 puzzles, so you can thoroughly enjoy TanZen without laying out any $$$$$$. :)

TanZen HD Lite for the iPad is Free in the iTunes store

TanZen Free for the iPhone is free in the iTunes store.

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What is “Freemium”?

Screen shot 2013-08-20 at 4.48.31 PMOn this blog, I occasionally highlight apps of interest, and when I do I always try to share information about the price or, even better, announce that it is free.

But lately many apps have adopted a new business model with a more pay-as-you-go approach, and therefore a new descriptive word has evolved.

Since I know I’ll be using this word on this blog, I thought it would be a good idea to explain it, now.

And that word? Freemium.

Let’s back up a bit. When apps first appeared in the iTunes store, you basically had two kinds: Free or Pay-for-it. Free might be the whole game, for example, but with pesky ads. If you could ignore those ads-on-the-edges you would have a pretty good deal. If my memory serves me correctly, the original Paper Toss was that kind of game. I downloaded the free version at first, but I remember finding the ads so annoying that I eventually spent 99¢ for the opportunity to enjoy the game ad-free. (That is precisely what the developers hope will happen, because that is how they make their money.)

Other apps offer you a limited version of the app for free. Just a teaser. Many Photo-apps were originally created like that, giving you just a few features to try out. And then, if you liked it, you could pay for the app and get the full version. The Premium version.

But gradually a new model has evolved, the Freemium. Many of the top-selling games in the Apple Store are freemium games.

The Freemium App gives you the product for free. BUT, as you play or work with the app there are various opportunities offered for upgrades, more time or other extras, and it is these in-app purchases where the developers want you to spend the $$.

And so, if you want the premium app, you’ll download it for free, and then pay as you go. That’s premium + free = freemium.

Critics of this model are many. (I’m counting myself among them) Personally, I would prefer the opportunity up-front to buy the app, the WHOLE COMPLETE app….. or not.

You can read more about this developing model by clicking any of the following links:

Wikipedia: Freemium

Freemium Is Irresistable, Even For Successful Game Companies

Most freemium mobile game high-rollers happy with their spending

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What’s All This Fuss about Candy Crush? (I don’t get it)

Screen shot 2013-07-08 at 12.44.48 PMI am a fan of match-three games, so when I heard about the popular Candy Crush, and learned that it was free, I downloaded it (of course).

But now I’m flummoxed. I just don’t get it.

Candy Crush is a runaway smash. It seems like the whole world of computer/mobile gaming is widely enthusiastic about this “goodie”.

The numbers speak for themselves: Apparently (according to Business Insider), Candy Crush is no. 3 in the Apple App store and is the top game on Facebook. It has 44 million monthly active users. It’s played more than 600 million times a day and is bringing in an estimated $633,000 every day. Whoa! That’s some crazy numbers. :shock:

The game is a simple match-3 set up, with a few twists and various goals. But it’s also a sneaky money-grabber, offering extra levels or tools at pivotal points in your game…. for $$$ of course.

The best explanation I’ve see of the addictive nature of this game can be found here.

I really don’t mind paying for a good game. I’ve bought a few match-three type games over the years that I really enjoyed. But I paid that money up front, and that $ bought me the game…. the whole game… to enjoy completely. I find this pay-as-you-play model rather disturbing. I do not like it. I think it’s a dangerous model for the consumer of such apps in that they can spend far more $ than they had ever intended to in the first place.

So I played some free Candy Crush. I’m only on level 22, but this is enough for me.

I just don’t get why it’s so appealing to so many, and why on earth they are willing to spend extra dollars every day just to gain the power, points or turns to move on to the next level. I’ve enjoyed other match-three games much more, so I’ll say it again: I just don’t get it.

$663,000 a day????  None from me.

I’m deleting it.

Candy Crushers out there? What’s the deal?

Weekend Distraction: Across Lite Crosswords for iPad

Screen shot 2013-07-05 at 11.34.55 AMI have never been any good at crossword puzzles, but it is a skill I’ve always admired. Over the years I would often pick up a puzzle with great expectations only to put it down incomplete, frustrated and disappointed.

And then I found “Across Lite”.

First of all, I love the way it works (and it looks beautiful on the iPad). The letters appear down the sides (although you can choose a standard keyboard if you would prefer). There are many settings, and I have mine set to tell me if a letter is incorrect. This has been extremely helpful as I work through these puzzles.

But the real thrill for me was an upgrade that I purchased within the app to help me learn how to do these puzzles (Learn to do Crosswords for $1.99). There are tricks and tips, and although I thought I “knew” how to do a crossword (I was just very very bad at it) …. there has been a lot for me to learn. I have watched my skill grow as I advanced through the puzzles.

As you can see in the screenshot below, some instructions appear before you begin. Gradually the puzzles get harder, and to my surprise, I definitely see an improvement in my skill.

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Here is another screenshot without the yellow instructions hanging over it. The game has many options and you can set it perfectly for your own skill level.

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If you are really serious about learning to do crosswords, Across Lite also offers a training app with outstanding reviews. It has a hefty price tag, $6.99, and I have not tried it, myself. But if you are interested, here is a link to that.

I’m really enjoying Across Lite Crosswords .. the free version (with a learn-to upgrade).

Across Lite Crosswords is Free in the iTunes Store

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