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Author Topic: Tool for Creating Themeless Stacks?  (Read 13214 times)


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Tool for Creating Themeless Stacks?
« on: July 06, 2023, 12:28:53 PM »
Does there currently exist a tool or tool feature for constructing long entry stacks for themeless puzzles before designing a grid?

I use CrossFire, so I haven’t explored Crossword Compiler. Does that software have a feature like this? The only way I’ve been able to use software to construct stacks is by designing the entire grid around my seed entries, and then choosing from the auto fill suggestions to complete the stacks.

Now I’m not exactly a themeless puzzle expert, having only constructed two myself, but I imagine being able to build stacks without having to design a grid first would be really cool.

If nothing like this exists, I’m tempted to code up something myself because I think it would be extremely useful. After a seed entry is given, compatible words could be scored based on how usable the crossing substrings would be. It could tell you whether to put your seed entry at the bottom, middle, or top of a stack and whether or not compatible entries should be stacked directly, or staggered by a letter.

Any thoughts?


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Re: Tool for Creating Themeless Stacks?
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2023, 12:52:31 PM »
Compiler is much the same in terms of how it fills grids. The issue with stacks is you have to have some pathways out of the stacks to get into the rest of the grid, so it's not really possible to build a standalone stack that would be viable.
Mark McClain
Salem, Virginia, USA


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Re: Tool for Creating Themeless Stacks?
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2023, 10:36:09 PM »
Any thoughts?

I've been tempted to code this myself (very easy with what I have coded on hand already), but the problem you'd run into is like was said: You'd have to be able to lock it into the rest of the grid.  My thought is maybe try to auto-gen words in whatever direction you intend to have the stack and then try to mesh that into the rest of the grid.  But you'd have similar problems there - basically "how do I fit what I want into the grid construction?"  Just not the easiest.  So you'd almost just do as well to just try to pick one or two things in the stacks you want and then let Crossfire try to auto-gen the rest of the grid if you want the automated tool.  Unless you're willing to tinker yourself, of course.  But I've definitely found that manual construction of crossword grids is a dead art.  So I really haven't found anything to help on that front.


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Re: Tool for Creating Themeless Stacks?
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2024, 09:17:54 PM »
I think creating a Themeless Stacks won't be easy, but it would be great if this feature is established.


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Re: Tool for Creating Themeless Stacks?
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2024, 11:26:22 PM »
In regards to how it fills grids, compiler is very similar. The problem with stacks is that you can't construct a successful standalone stack without also having pathways out of them to access the rest of the grid.


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