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Hello everyone,

I'm considering investing in puzzle-making software to help me create traditional newspaper style crosswords to market for publication.  What's the best--Crossword Compiler, Crossdown, or something else?  (The free ones won't really work, since it's my understanding that none of them help with the fill--the one thing I want software for.) 

And if the best one is Crossword Compiler, does a person really need all the bells and whistles--ProFill or whatever it's called--for considerably more money? 

Thanks in advance for your help.

I have enjoyed using Crossfire (  It is not that expensive and you can certainly create pro quality puzzles with it's assistance.

I have been using Crossword Compiler for several years now. It is a good program. I have been using it to create puzzles for a small audience in a newsletter I compile. I just want to caution you that any computer program has limitations. CC has yet to fill one of my 21X21 grid puzzles full of thematic answers. I end up filling my grids the old fashioned way; one word at a time. It does pretty well on 15x15 with three theme answers though. No program will ever be more adaptable and clever than a good constructor. IMHO.


I use Crossword Compiler version 7.1 professional:  it serves my construction needs well ... and I don't have the foggiest idea of what other versions of the software can or can not do.  (Personally, I think that the goodness of one's wordlist trumps the concern over which software is the best).  But, I will say this:  I recently spoke with someone who had an older version of CC, and I learned that he was not able to adjust word ranks during manual fill:  he had to write words down then edit them when he exited the filling procedure.  So, I would say it's little conveniences like this that might be sacrificed.

Also, if this is a hobby that you are simply obsessed with, then I would go with the high end.  If you're keen at generating themes -- and I mean really keen -- the puzzle sales will eventually pay off the software.  But for the most part, it's hard to break even with this hobby.

-Joe Krozel

Hi there,

I'll chime in with a plug. ;)  I work on Crossword Studio (, which is one of the newer programs to become available.  This software does not have the full laundry list of features that some other programs offer (yet!).  Instead, its goals are to be intuitive, easy to learn, and a boost to your productivity.  For example, in Crossword Studio you always see a list of words that fit into the current grid position you have highlighted, right next to the grid, since this is such a core need when creating a puzzle.  In some other programs, you have to open a separate popup window to look at this list, then close it when you're done.

At any rate -- if you think this software might be for you, I encourage you to download the free trial that's available online.

- Peter


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