Constructing => Software / Technical => Topic started by: peterflynn on May 31, 2009, 06:20:24 PM

Title: New crossword making software
Post by: peterflynn on May 31, 2009, 06:20:24 PM
Hi all,

I'm working on building a new program for creating crossword puzzles.  I know there's a bunch of software out there for this already, but I haven't really been satisfied with the ones I tried and I thought I'd try making something new.  The goal is to be easy to use, with more intuitive productivity features, but still powerful enough for making serious top-caliber crosswords.

I'm wondering if anyone would be interested in trying out an early version of this software.  Feedback would be very helpful to me, especially from a group with so much puzzle-authoring experience.

Thanks in advance!
- Peter
Title: Re: New crossword making software
Post by: Latent on June 02, 2009, 09:18:19 PM

Nice to know you are creating one. Who knows, it might be big.

I would like to try it out. If it is successful, I will try it out on my site. I currently use Eclipse Crossword and Hot Potato. I am will to try it.

Contact me if you are interested.
Title: Re: New crossword making software
Post by: Mel Rosen on June 05, 2009, 10:06:30 AM
Peter, It would be helpful if you would specify which computer platform you were shooting for ... PC / Mac / Windows / Linux ... etc ...

Also, if you would be very specific about which features are missing from the programs you've tried, perhaps the authors of those programs would consider modifications.

Title: Re: New crossword making software
Post by: peterflynn on June 10, 2009, 05:13:09 PM
Hi Mel,

This program, Crossword Studio, supports both Mac and Windows.

Missing features aren't really what led me to create this software.  Other crossword programs have lots of features, but the sheer number of features isn't always what counts the most.  As someone who does a lot of work professionally in user interface design -- that is, making software easier to use or more intuitive -- I'm acutely aware of those subtle quirks and snags that can make software less helpful or more frustrating than it should be.

It can be hard to overhaul the usability of existing software, especially if the technology it's built on isn't conducive to it.  The best option seemed to be trying my hand at making something better.  And that brings us to today: this "beta" of Crossword Studio doesn't have the whole laundry list of features that some of the other software boasts -- yet -- but I hope it will be one of the easiest to learn and most pleasing to use.

That's not to say Crossword Studio is currently just a toy.  The version I'm soliciting feedback on lets you print and export puzzles, "auto fill" sections of the grid, save clues, organize theme words, etc.  But there's certainly more in store.

So, that's a longer-winded explanation.  Making software that is truly easy to use requires good feedback, and that's where I'm asking all of you for help.  If anyone can spare a bit of time to try out Crossword Studio, you may wind up helping to build your new favorite crossword-authoring tool! ;)

- Peter
Title: Re: New crossword making software
Post by: Doorbell on June 11, 2009, 11:04:27 AM
Peter, I'd like to give it a try.  I'm on a Windows XP machine.

Lyell Rodieck
Title: Re: New crossword making software
Post by: peterflynn on June 14, 2009, 12:29:21 AM
Hi Lyell,

That's great, thanks for your interest!  Can you contact me with your e-mail address so I can provide you a copy of the program and some beta-testing guidance?

- Peter
Title: Re: New crossword making software
Post by: peterflynn on August 28, 2009, 02:21:09 AM
Hi all,

A few months back I posted here about new software I'm working on -- software that I hope will make it easier than ever before to write crossword puzzles.

By now, Crossword Studio is refined enough for a broader group of people to kick the tires and take it for a spin.  Please check it out at (

I'm excited to hear feedback from anyone and everyone who has the time to give it a try.  Any feedback or suggestions are helpful, of course, but what I'd most like to know is:

Thanks to those who helped me test the earlier version last spring, and thanks in advance to those who can send feedback on this newer version now!

- Peter
Title: Re: New crossword making software
Post by: fungi1995 on August 28, 2009, 07:45:40 PM
Count me in. When will the Mac version be available?
Title: Re: New crossword making software
Post by: peterflynn on September 06, 2009, 08:26:36 PM
For those interested in the Mac version -- I'm happy to say it's available for download now:

Please tell me what you think!

- Peter
Title: Re: New crossword making software
Post by: TMcD on December 01, 2009, 01:02:00 PM
Peter, I'm a total beginner at constructing, but have been trying your software on a Windows XP machine for a couple of weeks.  The only tiny glitch I have found is that when opening a file, double clicking doesn't work.  I still have to click on the Open button.

Can you give me some idea how the available word list compares to that found in other programs?  If I have enough success in making crosswords to encourage me, I will be purchasing software at some point.  Am I right in thinking that the word list is a big part of the software's usefulness?

Thank you very much for making your program available for trial.

Title: Re: New crossword making software
Post by: peterflynn on December 04, 2009, 11:40:55 PM
Hi Tom,

Glad to hear you're enjoying Crossword Studio!  Being approachable to beginners was a top goal for this software from the very start.  We're definitely hoping to improve more in the future -- so if there's anything you do find confusing, it'd be great to hear your feedback.

Sorry about the snag you hit with double-clicking.  If you could send an email to info -@-, we'll start troubleshooting that right away for you.

I definitely agree with you that word lists are important.  It's much easier to fill a grid when you have a large list, and quality matters too -- it's no use making a word list long just by filling it up with obscure answers that are hard to clue.

It's hard to say exactly how the Crossword Studio dictionary stacks up against that in other products.  But I can tell you that a serious amount of effort went into building up this custom list, and we're working hard to make it even better in future versions.  There are currently about 130,000 answers in the dictionary, and you can easily add on your own word lists.  There's also a pretty good word list available for download here at if you have a Gold membership, which you can also import.

Again, glad to hear of your interest!  There's lots of room for your feedback to shape the next version, so if you have any questions or suggestions, please let us know -- either here, or at the email address.

- Peter
Title: Re: New crossword making software
Post by: TMcD on December 07, 2009, 06:32:09 PM
Thanks for the reply, Peter.  I've found the software easy and intuitive to use.