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Author Topic: Mac vs. Windows software  (Read 516 times)

sapink

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Mac vs. Windows software
« on: May 15, 2018, 04:19:37 PM »
I'm a new constructor and I am trying to decide on what software to use. I always come across Crossword Compiler for Windows and Crossfire for Mac. I own a Mac, but from what I've read, Crossword Compiler is far superior to Crossfire. Is it worth investing in a cheap Windows laptop to use Crossword Compiler, or will Crossfire be fine? Or, is there a different software on Mac that is better?

4wd

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Re: Mac vs. Windows software
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2018, 11:08:34 PM »
I use both, tend to use Crossfire for designing and filling and Crossword Compiler for clue creation and final export.
My setup's a little strange, though it's become a bit of a habit. You could do everything in Crossfire though Crossword Compiler's a lot sleeker. My current workflow's mainly due to me having the standard version of CC which doesn't have the Pro-Grid filler. Crossfire's grid filling capabilities are top notch and with a perpetual license its a great deal.

mmcbs

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Re: Mac vs. Windows software
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2018, 08:48:23 AM »
I'll add a point to what 4WD said, or maybe enhance it a bit. Crossword Compiler without the professional grid filler enhancement is not very useful for serious constructing, so you must get that if you decide to go with CC. I would also suggest that you consider emailing your question to the cruciverb-L mailing list, as it will get a lot more eyeballs and you might get some good suggestions. I haven't owned a Mac in decades and don't use Crossfire, so no comment on that. I do know that you can get software for the Mac to emulate Windows and run Windows programs, and I know there are constructors who do that. Good luck!
Mark McClain
Salem, Virginia, USA
https://crosswordsbymark.wordpress.com/

mmcbs

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Re: Mac vs. Windows software
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2018, 09:09:02 AM »
Oh, and one other point, which is that the robustness of your word list is as much of a factor in success as the software. This site as a useful wordlist (ALL), and there are others available, notably on xwordinfo.com - and you'll continue to tweak on your word list going forward by demoting or deleting unusable entries and adding new ones.
Mark McClain
Salem, Virginia, USA
https://crosswordsbymark.wordpress.com/

davidm

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Re: Mac vs. Windows software
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2018, 04:04:49 PM »
I use CrossFire on my Mac. I like it. It's good when I hear about its strong points since I don't have a comparison basis. As far as word lists go, CrossFire comes with a default which works. I can fill grids well enough.

My question is how good is the CrossFire default word list? With XWord, you can merge their word list with the default list. Does that merger result in a much better fill? Then, the next question is how does that product compare with the Crossword Compiler? It sounds like 4wd likes CrossFire filling over CC.

Finally, with merged wordlists, does it guarantee a faster and better fill than the default (along with my "addiins")? With so many crosswords now expanding the use of multi-word entries, how good are the default wordlists?



MAH

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Re: Mac vs. Windows software
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2018, 07:40:38 PM »
I'm pretty new to software and word lists as well, so I have some of the same issues. I have both CrossFire(XFire) on a mac and Crossword Compiler(CC) on a PC. XFire uses the .dict file format for its list, CC uses .lst format. I have done fills with both programs. I much prefer CC for word list management.

http://beekeeperlabs.com/crossfire/docs/index.html#MAINTENANCE

is the page where the XFire default dictionary is discussed under "Dictionary options". It is ranked, but imperfectly, on a scale of 1-100. A few other details are discussed here. One thing that annoys me about this list is that it includes some bogus plurals, i.e., an 's' is added to words that are never used as plurals. It also contains a plethora of drug names, plant genuses, etc. that could never be used as fill.
So to answer your first question davidm, the XFire default is not very good. I am assuming the XWord list is the one from XWordInfo available to Angel members. It has to be better than the default in XFire.  Just convert it to a .dict file and add it to XFire using the Dictionary tab under Preferences. You can enable or disable any of your word lists there. You can also change the order and designate a primary dictionary (word list). You can't edit the default list in XFire, but you can locate it, make a copy, rename it and then edit that file. Personally, after viewing it in a text editor, I don't think it's worth the hassle.

The default dictionary in CC is also also a ranked list, but I'm not sure what the ranking is based on. I get less bogus entries using it than I do with XFire's default. In CC you can also add the XWord list and convert it to a .lst file. You can also merge it with other lists there. You have many more options in the Word List Manager in CC than you do in XFire, e.g., you can choose whether to preserve the rankings of lists that you add in or use the rankings in the list you are adding to. The Pro Filler you get with the pro version has more options than the grid filler in XFire, but I think the 'fill from theme' option could be improved.

Be careful when merging word lists. Make up backups and rename them to avoid messing up your originals. Also, most lists use different scales and ranking standards, so you already have some choices to make before merging. It is important to decide which file is being merged into which (order is important!).

Finally, the Jeff Chen personal word list at XWordInfo is supposed to be the gold standard and has stuff ranked in detail based on his vast experience. He explains his ranking methodology under the FAQs here

https://www.xwordinfo.com/WordList/FAQ.aspx

4wd

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Re: Mac vs. Windows software
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2018, 11:53:08 PM »
My question is how good is the CrossFire default word list? With XWord, you can merge their word list with the default list. Does that merger result in a much better fill? Then, the next question is how does that product compare with the Crossword Compiler? It sounds like 4wd likes CrossFire filling over CC.

Finally, with merged wordlists, does it guarantee a faster and better fill than the default (along with my "addiins")? With so many crosswords now expanding the use of multi-word entries, how good are the default wordlists?

CF's default word list is a bit limited, I use the word lists found on here. A quality fill depends on your efforts, gotta take some time filling the grid choosing the best possible entries and ensuring those entries are flexible in terms of cluing.

The CC-CF comparison would depend on what works best for you and how much experience you've got on it, in my case for fit and finish CC, for design CF

With merged word lists its all about the quality of the word list being merged, if it has a lot fresh words it'll significantly improve your library, which in part would improve your chances of a quality fill, if its a bunch of redundant entries wouldn't make a difference.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2018, 07:39:03 AM by 4wd »

 


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