Crossword Puzzle Solver Library

"It's your crossword puzzle.
Solve it any way you want!"

Sooner or later, we all get stuck on a clue and have to suffer the indignation of seeking the help of a crossword puzzle solver of some kind.

You could leave the clue blank, of course, and wait for the answers in tomorrow's paper. But will you still be interested then? And is it really wrong to cheat? Will Shortz, editor of the most prestigious crossword puzzle in America, The New York Times Crossword, certainly doesn't think so. The quote above is his! Feel better? Good.

The New York Times
Electronic Crossword Puzzle Solver

The New York Times Electronic Crossword Puzzle Dictionary.
The New York Times Electronic Crossword Solver and thesaurus helps solve crossword puzzles, even those in the world-renowned New York Times. The palm-sized device provides 325,000 clues and answers from the third edition of Merriam-Webster's Crossword Puzzle Dictionary, and its thesaurus has 500,000 synonyms and antonyms.

The QWERTY keyboard allows you to quickly input a crossword clue and the number of letters in the answer - the touch of a button produces a list of associated words. When you are missing only a few letters, simply input question marks for the missing letters (B?RO??E) and the device generates the answer (Baroque).

The integrated dictionary has a comprehensive list of words and subjects often encountered by puzzlers, including poets, presidents, celebrities, athletes, and geography. Dictionary entries are sortable alphabetically, by number of letters, or by common categories. The device has a phonetic spelling aid, it defines often-confused words (like affect and effect), and even has 13 word games. Very cool!

Across Lite

Across Lite is a crossword helper application that allows you to view and solve crossword puzzles on your computer. It is the most popular choice for online crossword-solvers. Not only because it is so user-friendly, but also because it is absolutely FREE.

NOTEAcross Lite doesn't actually solve your clues - it is a tool enabling you to solve your crosswords on your computer. The other crossword solvers on this page are designed to help with the clue solving!

When you open a crossword puzzle in Across Lite you'll see a screen like this...

Across Lite - Online Crossword Puzzle Solver

You fill in entries by simply highlighting the relevant slot in the crossword grid, and typing letters on the keyboard.

To speed up the process, when you select a clue in either the Across or Down panels, the relevant entry is automatically highlighted in the grid, and vice versa.

Across Lite can be used to solve crossword puzzles distributed in a special format recognized by a .puz extension. It is so widely used in the crossword industry that you'll find most websites offering online puzzles distribute at least some of their puzzles in the Across Lite format.

You can download Across Lite here, or read a little bit more about Across Lite here.

Crossword Maestro

Crossword Maestro is a very high-powered crossword puzzle solver dedicated to cryptic crosswords. It was built by William Tunstall-Pedoe, who is the Artificial Intelligence guru behind the widely acclaimed anagram generator, Anagram Genius.

NOTE — Actually, Crossword Maestro is also capable of solving standard, American-style, crosswords, however cryptic crosswords are its forte.

Here's a sample screen for the cryptic clue...

Laugh at round ends? It's tough (4)

Crossword Maestro - Cryptic Crossword Puzzle Solver

As you can see from the analysis window, the reasoning Crossword Maestro uses to arrive at the correct answer, HARD, is un-nervingly human. Just in case you can't read the text in the screenshot clearly, here's the sequence of steps it used to solve this cryptic crossword clue...

HARD Confidence: 97%

  • 'It's tough' is the definition.
  • 'laugh at round ends' is the subsidiary indication.
  • 'laugh' becomes 'ha'.
  • 'at' means one lot of letters goes next to another.
  • 'ends' means to remove the middle letters.
  • 'round' with its centre removed is 'rd'.
  • 'ha' + 'rd' is 'hard'.

I find this is a great tool for learning how to solve cryptic crossword puzzles, because every step in the solving process is outlined for me (btw. it gets the right answer 75-100% of the time).

If you're a setter of cryptic crosswords, you can use Crossword Maestro to test the clues you've come up with to see if it can arrive at the right answers, before you inflict them on an unsuspecting human!

If you're into cryptics, Crossword Maestro is probably the best crossword puzzle solver you'll find.

WordWeb Pro

WordWeb Pro is an indispensable desktop application I use whenever I'm doing anything related to words. It is a dictionary, a thesaurus, a word finder, and ... you guessed it ... a crossword puzzle solver, all in one.

WordWeb Pro is virtually a mini-Web dedicated to words (hence its name) that runs on your desktop, with or without an Internet connection. It comes with a huge database of words and word lists specifically tailored to crosswords. It can also be extended to include other dictionaries. (I've added Chambers and the Oxford Dictionary of English to my copy, which have been just fantastic!)

Crossword Puzzle Solver - WordWeb Pro

Also, because WordWeb Pro is made by the same guy who created the industry-standard crossword maker, Crossword Compiler, it gives you access to a proprietary database of newspaper crossword lists that you won't be able to find anywhere else on the Web.




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