• http://www.tcampbell.net T Campbell

    The show came pre-ruined for me, for the very same reason. It was easy to imagine myself getting a call like that, and doing the same Google-Fu.

    Now, it would be possible to do Phone-A-Friend for questions Google can’t answer so easily– questions involving deductive reasoning, for instance. But that would likewise mean a serious deviation from WWTBAM’s format.

    I’m a crossword puzzle designer, and the ways Google has changed that field are interesting too. I’d love to see an article about that, one of these slow days.

  • Matt McGee

    How has Google changed the crossword puzzle field?

  • http://www.ipraxa.com sania mehta

    Completely acceptable to replace life line ‘phone-a-friend’ from show “who wants to be millionaire”. Because it is a game show and it judges person’s knowledge not about how quickly he can cheat in 1 min or 30 secs. But I don’t find only Google to be responsible for this. Person on other side can also search from other search engines, wiki answers, yahoo answers as well.

  • http://www.tcampbell.net T Campbell

    Others are more qualified to answer that question than I am (and I’ll invite them to do so), but here’s a cursory examination:

    There’s an ongoing debate among solvers of the newspaper crossword about whether or not googling is cheating. I know my father and I still avoid it when solving the NYT Sunday, and we haven’t felt the need. It’s definitely practiced, though, because the day that a popular puzzle is syndicated, its clues often show up in Google Hot Trends.

    Online crosswords seem to be done for a more computer-savvy audience, and I think googling is more widely accepted but still controversial when solving those. I know that without reference works, I can handle up to the “Thursday” level of puzzle (with Monday-Saturday representing a scale of increasing difficulty). But online, I do find myself googling, albeit sparingly.

    For a constructor, this situation presents a new challenge. Do we bring more obscure references into the puzzles, secure in the knowledge that the reader can bring this extra tool to the table? Or do we work for those who want to eschew the tool and test their memories, not their search capacity? One way or another, the net result is that we’re working with a greater range of solving abilities than ever. What one solver finds forbiddingly hard, another finds boringly easy.

    Speaking for myself, when I make independent puzzles like the Ubercross Fiddy (http://www.ubercross.com/fiddy.html), I try to challenge the solver in ways that Google can’t make super-easy, and I try not to use any clues that are virtually unanswerable WITHOUT Google, either. Example: “Its white filling turns orange in October” (answer: OREO). Other online constructors, I think, accept googling as part of the game now, and construct puzzles that are sufficiently challenging even with its use assumed.

    Google’s impact on us has had its upside. The above-mentioned Google-friendly puzzles can work with a greater vocabulary than ever before. And for me, finding obscure trivia that people might not know but can still lead them to the answer has never been easier. My friend Brendan Emmett Quigley, who works in both print and online, waxed rhapsodic about that on his blog recently (http://www.brendanemmettquigley.com/2010/08/crossword-258.html).

    But, like so many other disciplines, ours is scrambling to make the most of the ever-changing world of digital media.

    I’m strictly an online constructor and not nearly as much of a part of the “scene” as some. I hope they’ll offer their corrections and additional thoughts.