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Publisher's column: Small changes coming to our crossword, sudoku puzzles

Over the years, I’m fairly confident that I’ve taken more calls from readers about issues involving puzzles than any other newspaper service issue, with the exception of missed paper deliveries.

Devlyn Brooks.png
Devlyn Brooks is the new publisher for the Wadena Pioneer Journal, Perham Focus and Detroit Lakes Tribune.
Vicki Gerdes / Forum News Service
We are part of The Trust Project.

In my 30 years of newspapering, no subset of newspaper users has proven more conscientious about changes in their paper than the fans of the puzzles. In the case of our three publications, that would be our crossword and sudoku puzzles.

Over the years, I’m fairly confident that I’ve taken more calls from readers about issues involving puzzles than any other newspaper service issue, with the exception of missed paper deliveries.

Puzzle players are serious about their games, and when we make mistakes, they let us know!

That is why I’m announcing a few small changes taking place to the crossword and sudoku puzzles in our three publications.

First, I want to assure our puzzle players that they are receiving the same exact puzzles they have been playing, but in about a week their appearance will change in minor ways.

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Beginning with the Detroit Lakes Tribune on Feb. 1, and the Perham Focus and Wadena Pioneer Journal on Feb. 2, the puzzles will have a slightly different layout appearance on the page.

Here is the skinny on what puzzle players need to know:

  • In the Wednesday edition of the Detroit Lakes Tribune, and the weekly editions of the Perham Focus and Wadena Pioneer Journal, the puzzles will now be stacked vertically on top of each other on the right side of the page.
  • In the Saturday editions of the DL Tribune, the puzzles will appear side by side on the page.
  • The crossword puzzle in each instance will remain the same size.
  • The crossword clues will no longer wrap around the answers.
  • The crossword answers will be slightly larger than before and no longer printed upside down.
  • The sudoku puzzles will be slightly smaller in size, in addition to the sudoku answers also being smaller.
  • Finally, the placement of the puzzles will continue to be placed in the classified section where space permits. This will not change.

Why the changes at all?
Well, our parent company, Forum Communications Co., continues to look for ways to make the physical production of each of our products more efficient. Our production team discovered that we could increase our efficiency in producing our newspaper pages by making these small changes to the many puzzles that appear across all of our newspapers in South Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

And, ultimately, as we continue to make small changes to increase our production efficiency, this means that our designers will have more time to produce quality products so that all of our subscribers benefit.

We love our puzzle-playing newspaper readers! There maybe isn’t a more passionate group of users of our papers! So we are being very careful that our changes do not detract from the puzzle experience. And, in these changes, we feel like we’ve found common ground between improving our production process and ensuring that our puzzle players are served.

Thanks again for being so passionate about our papers!

(Devlyn Brooks is the publisher of the Detroit Lakes Tribune, Perham Focus and Wadena Pioneer Journal, and their associated websites. He can be reached at dbrooks@dlnewspapers.com or at 218-844-1451)

Related Topics: COMMENTARY
Devlyn Brooks is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and serves Faith Lutheran Church in Wolverton, Minn. He also works for Forum Communications Co. He can be reached at devlyn.brooks@forumcomm.com for comments and story ideas.
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