Analyze your own crosswords

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… Continue reading Analyze your own crosswords

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Jim Horne answers questions about XWord Info we get in email.

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Crosswords and Computers

Crosswords used to be constructed entirely by hand. Watch Garson Hampfield reminisce about the old days. I love this guy. Some constructors still use graph paper, but almost all published crosswords now benefit from some computer assistance. The Auto-Amazing-Theme-Generator™ has yet to be invented, but software such as Crossword Compiler for PCs or Crossfire for… Continue reading Crosswords and Computers

Why is 17-Across special?

What is the most common clue in NYT crosswords? We were curious, so we wrote some code to figure that out. Before running the code, I tried to guess the results. We’d probably be looking for clues pointing to common, useful answers, i.e., short answers with lots of vowels. OREO seems like a good target… Continue reading Why is 17-Across special?

Virtual Crossword Tournaments

TL;DR – Yes, you should attend. They’re fun. Crossword tournaments have long been a way for puzzle-heads to commiserate with other addicts. You get to hang out with like-minded thinkers around the proverbial pencil sharpeners, and nobody judges you for bringing OREOS over to the bar. Or ALOE. Or your EMU. The ACPT The grandfather… Continue reading Virtual Crossword Tournaments

Acrostic Quotes and Full Quotes (NSFW?)

A couple of warnings before we begin: This post contains spoilers for some older Acrostic puzzles. If you’re planning on working your way through them, avert your eyes now. This post contains a story that might imply surprising sexual conduct. Viewer discretion advised. Acrostics seem to involve a different part of the solving brain than… Continue reading Acrostic Quotes and Full Quotes (NSFW?)

Can I have your data?

We’re often asked, “I have a cool idea for a project, but I need tons of NYT crossword data. Can I have yours?” Thanks to this blog, instead of writing long explanations, I can just point people to this post. Score! The short answer is “no.” The long answer is, “No. Well, maybe. But probably… Continue reading Can I have your data?