XWord Info started as a website mostly for curious solvers. Over the years, the site has evolved and is now equally aimed at helping constructors create their best work. We have Jeff Chen’s word list, some sample Python scripts, and a Finder page that has been used more than 13 million times. (An upcoming post will explain how we customize our Finder specifically for constructors.)
Hidden away in the section Tools for Constructors is a link called Analyze your own puzzle. The original idea was that it would show constructors what their puzzle would look like on XWord Info if it were published in the NYT, including all the stats users see if they click the Analyze button on the Crossword page. You would upload an unlocked .puz file to see information about block and word count, letters used, a “colorized” grid showing unique and rarely seen answer words, and lots more.
We added a way to share your puzzle with test solvers. No need to distribute any files. You click a button and that generates a cryptic link people can use to solve the puzzle online. Note that this private link does not constitute publishing. That is important because you can’t submit previously published puzzles to the NYT or elsewhere.
We’d love to make this feature even better. Analyzing your puzzle is interesting and maybe fun and hopefully useful. But what would make it more useful? Maybe trying to find words duplicated in clues and answers? Perhaps identifying words that score low on Jeff’s word list because they might be objectionable?
If you have ideas, let us know, either through comments here or via email from the link on our home page.