About the Author
David Alfred Bywaters's crossword puzzles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Los Angeles Times, Puzzle Society Crossword (now Universal Crossword), and The New York Times. He has read a great many Victorian novels.
About the Crosswords
These puzzles usually follow the basic rules of published crosswords: no more than 78 entries on a 15 x 15, symmetrical grid, none fewer than three letters, etc. But they bend the rules enforced by stern editors against such things as titles with theme material (001), predictable repetition of letter combinations (002), dark humor (003), and utter nonsense (004). All the crosswords here have themes involving modifications either in language or its interpretation. Their purpose is rather to amuse than to baffle. I care nothing for hipness; I make no effort to include the latest neologism, celebrity, or TV series. If you want crosswords that are extremely challenging and thoroughly modern, you'll find plenty of them elsewhere.
My crosswords are available in three formats.
PDF files are readable by countless software programs—Adobe Reader, for example. To fill them in, however, you have to print them out and write on them.
PUZ files can be filled out on your computer, tablet, or phone. They can be opened with Across Lite software, available for Windows, Macintosh, and IOS systems, and available free here.
The PuzzleMe versions, generously provided by AmuseLabs, can be solved right on my website.
About the victorian Novels
I want to help the reader who, like me, has finished Middlemarch, and Vanity Fair, and Great Expectations, and Jane Eyre, and Wuthering Heights, and The Woman in White, and all the novels of Anthony Trollope twice, and needs something more. Technological advances have suddenly made available thousands upon thousands of Victorian novels, in easy-to-read pdf form. Many of these are equal or superior to the novels the world remembers. Every week I recommend one. I include some novels published not long before and after Victoria's reign (1837-1901) so long as their authors published a good part of their work within it.
Victorian Novel Resources
The most complete general guide to the English novels is John Sutherland, The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction, 2nd. ed. (London: Longman, 2009). However, you have to buy it; the remaining resources are free.
Dr. Troy J. Bassett's At the Circulating Library: A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901 is an invaluable source of biographical and bibliographical information.
The Internet Archive offers tens of thousands of volumes of Victorian fiction in pdf form: look for the scans performed by the Internet Archive itself, which tend to be more reliable than Google's.
Google Books is just as generous, but many of the volumes on its site, though long out of copyright, are offered only in snippet view, and many of the scanned volumes are missing pages.
The British Library provides excellent scans, complete and legible, of a limited number of its books, but its downloading system is outrageously cumbersome. Be sure to search its catalogue rather than its website.
The Bodleian Library offers Google scans that, though on average better than the Google scans available at the Internet Archive and Google's own site, still too often lack the odd pair of pages.
Hathitrust has a great many Google-scanned volumes unavailable elsewhere—however, unless you are a member of a premier academic institution, you will not be able to download them. Why not? I don't know.
Gutenberg.org offers text versions of a more limited selection of old books, which are easily converted to e-reader formats like mobi. I do not myself read these: I find them, with their transcription errors and minimal formatting, less pleasant than the pdf images.