Newspaper-style puzzles

Crossword Compiler fully supports quick, cryptic, American, Italian and French-style newspaper puzzles.

The New Puzzle window lets you chose which type of puzzle, a size, and then select a grid pattern. You can also design your own.

Crossword Compiler's New Puzzle window

Filling words

The AutoFill feature lets you fill grids automatically from a word list. A default word list is supplied, and many optional extras list are available, or you can make your own lists. You can also fill round existing words and do theme fills.

The filler is very fast - many grids can be filled in seconds or less. It uses a word scoring system to use more 'good' words, so you can generate high-quality fills automatically.

The Word List Manager feature can be used to make, edit and manipulate word lists. You can also import and export from text files.

Using AutoFill to fill a grid

Pro Grid Filler (optional)

With Manual Word Selection you can take full control of the filling process, selecting words and guiding the fill. The Pro Filler also has powerful fill options, and a tool to fit theme words.

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Manual word selection window with the Pro Grid Filler

Grid Insight

Grid Insight works in the background to immediately identify problems in the grid like duplicate words, or word slots or areas that are unfillable. It also does a full fill analysis, with an indicator button at the right of the lower toolbar indicating whether the grid section is fillable (green) or not (red). Any forced letters are shown in the grid (the s in skit in the example on the right).

With the Pro Grid Filler installed, Grid Insight can also highlight repeated substrings.

Grid Pattern Generator

Generate new random grid patterns pattern with any symmetry. You can optionally fine-tune the specific constraints for the number and position of blocks, and specify the minimum number of words of each length.

This can be used to generate American or cryptic/quick-style grids. You can also view standard provided grid patterns, or make your own grid libraries of patterns for re-use. There's a powerful Grid Library Manager for managing collections of grid patterns.

Finding Words

If you prefer you can use the AutoFind feature to find words to go in a particular slot in the grid. You can search multiple word lists and also check intersections.

Writing clues

You can use the Clue Editor to write clues or insert clues from a database. You can link directly to the optional WordWeb Pro dictionary/thesaurus, or to various third-party dictionaries.

Clues can contain bold and italic, and sub- and super-script, and can be in any language. You can add a citation or explanation for cryptic clues. A button links to an anagram generator for finding anagrams, partial words and container anagrams. Pop-up menus give help with cryptic-clue indicators.

Clue Generator

You can also use AI to generate simple clues for unclued words to get you started. Specify the style and language, and optionally give special instructions.

Reviewing clues

In the Review/Edit Clues window you can view all your clues, edit, and spell-check them. The window can be opened side-by-side with the grid, and will automatically update as you change the grid.

For themed puzzles you can tag the theme words so they are easily visible, and you can also give other tags to each clue (e.g. for different types of cryptic clue).

Clue databases

Store your clues in clue databases, with powerful search, import and export features. You can easily use clues from a database in a puzzle, or extract clues from finished puzzles to store for future use (or to avoid duplication). Clues can be date stamped and tracked by citation and other fields.

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