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"Few things are harder to put up with than a good example."
- Mark Twain (1835 -1910)

Presenting... Crossword Weaver

Peter H. Rehm, the author of Crossword Weaver, says this construction program is well-suited to the amateur constructor. I have to agree. After test driving the software for a week, I was impressed not only with the puzzles that I managed to create but also the interface itself. Other programs may be more capable of filling tricky grids, but the resulting entries can include words that only a microbiologist or professor of ancient languages would know. That's not necessarily desirable when creating puzzles for newsletters, students, or friends.

Crossword Weaver draws from a dictionary of 60,000 words when filling puzzles. This database includes a number of brand names which are well known to North Americans but not necessarily familiar to those in other countries. Nonetheless, I found the fills were more than adequate and the absence of obscure entries and 'crosswordese' was a pleasure to behold.

One of the features that I found to be of great assistance was the grid templates included with the program. Of course, one can always copy a grid from an existing puzzle but Crossword Weaver comes equipped with an extensive library of patterns (over 140 different patterns). Apart from the standard square grids, there are also many specialty shapes such as flowers, crosses, and numerals. Just select a pattern, hit the build button et voilą!

Once you've filled the puzzle grid then you have to wrestle with the clues, right? Wrong! Crossword Weaver automatically includes clues for most of the entries and even has a number of alternate clues that can be custom selected. However, if you want to write your own clue(s) or edit those provided, this is easily done. The program is very accommodating. Incidentally, though some of the stock clues were rather pedestrian, most were acceptable.

With minimal effort you now have a completed puzzle. At this point you can print it out or import it (via the clipboard) into another Windows application such as an HTML editor for inclusion on a Web page or other electronic publication (newsletter, etc.). Now you can go impress your friends!

  • Ease Of Use: Basically, a point-and-click operation (and type in the words) that allows you to create standard crosswords (North American style), cryptics and free-form crosswords. Includes a number of themed word lists such as animals, colors, sports, etc. Custom themed word lists are easily created but it won't import existing word lists from other applications. Once word lists are created, they can be saved separately. Unfortunately, the main dictionary is not expandable.
  • Help File This software comes with a great help file that clearly explains the mechanics of the program as well as including an introduction to crossword styles and standards...
  • Multi-Language Capabilities: Crossword Weaver supports words from any Roman-alphabet language...
  • Handy Features: Creates puzzles up to 51 columns by 51 rows. Lets you change fonts, grid size & position, margins, number of columns, etc. Multiple levels of undo and redo. Exports your puzzle to other Windows programs. Pattern-drawing tools with seven types of symmetry. Includes over 140 different blocked grid templates.

I rate this program highly for any hobby puzzle constructors who want entertaining crosswords for newsletters, teachers needing vocabulary building material for the classroom or those just wanting to provide some fun for family and friends. The professional constructor may require the power of programs like Crossword Compiler but for mortals such as I (and many others) Crossword Weaver is a wonderful tool. Congratulations to Peter and Rachel Rehm. All those years of programming will bring many more years of cruciverbal fun to puzzle creators and solvers alike.

Variety Games Inc.
115 East 900 South
Orem, UT 84058

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