Project #1: Making a Crossword Puzzle

Screen-Shot-2015-01-22-at-3.04.23-PMWhen first shown dowedo.com, I expected to be able to make several crossword puzzles before getting frustrated. I expected to create better and better puzzles which each new attempt. This is not how things occurred.

Screen-Shot-2015-01-20-at-2.37.13-PMI first attempted to do a 15×15 crossword in standard American style. I had several long words that I immediately wanted to include, but found it very frustating to check every cell in the puzzle. I breifly considered acronyms for forign government agencies, and the rarest of diseases, but then decided that would not make for an appropriately difficult puzzle. I began to rely heavily on the Find and Fit feature on Dowedo, but found that its limited proper noun categlogue, and inabiltiy to suggest multi-word answers would inhibit my ability to create a crossword I enjoyed.

In my new puzzle I still attempted to follow the American convention of radial symmetry, but abandoned the check on each letter. I had tried to devise a theme in the first puzzle, but after little success did not attempt it in the new puzzle. Getting words to fit would now be the priority.

After switching to a 13×13 puzzle with fewer checks the process came to me a little more easily. Answers and phases were still difficult to come by, but there were more possibilities. I began to rely less on the Find and Fit, and instead tried to fill in common letter combinations and see what words came to me that way.Screen-Shot-2015-01-21-at-4.05.57-PM

The hardest answers on the 13×13 were the two that went across the entire puzzle, these affected so many other entries and any alteration would be painstaking. I eventually settled on NEWSGREETINGS, an answer I am still not happy with and BRIANWILLIAMS, which I arrived at by first playing around with William Jennings Bryan’s name.

After settling on a less than perfect grid of answer, I began crafting clues with mostly obvious hints. I then went back over to try to include word play, or make the clues less direct. I spent little time crafting the clues into recently discovered forms, instead relying mostly on memory for clue conventions. I consulted several friends to ensure that the clues were direct enough to generate the answers I desired. They were mostly affirming, and generally told me about clues that did already did not satisfy me.

The clues ended up coming much more easily than the answers.

The results are below.

Screen-Shot-2015-01-22-at-3.02.08-PM

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