Friday, September 2, 2011

How to make a crossword puzzle, and solution for Tiffany's Turn of the Century New York

Hi all.  Here are the solutions for the puzzle.  It was fun to make, and I hope it was fun to do too.  Though, I have to admit, I would have to use Google for a few of the entries (and I used Google to come up with a few of the entries).  Also, it took quite some time, but I figure anything worth anything will take some time to do.

One puzzle about making this puzzle was to figure out how to do this on the computer.  So, since this in itself was a puzzle, I will also tell you about my solution!  I'll say, if anyone has some shortcuts to this, I'm game, but my rule is that it can't include software that costs money.  That will make this puzzle too easy.
First, I started with a web site that gave me a starting point for the puzzle.  I gave the site 20 words, and it fit 17 of them together and gave me a pretty bad puzzle.  That is, there were few words that had more than one connection to another word.  This is the site that I used, which by the way, I think is a pretty good site:

Next, I printed this out and thought about some more words that would fit the puzzle theme.  I drew on the picture by hand until I had fit in quite a few theme words.  But, still I needed more connection words to make the puzzle good.

Step three was another website that was great for finding those connections words.  This site allows you to search for dictionary words of a certain length that have your special characters in the right place.  For example, you can type in h**p and it will return all the words that match this pattern, say harp, hasp, heap, help, etc....  This site is as follows:

OK, so now I had my answer sheet.  Next, I created a table in Open Office and made it look like a grid.  I figured out how to superscript characters so I could type my number 1., 2., etc to identify rows and columns.  I created the clues, colored all unused squares so it looked nice, and I have to say this was full of errors and took a very long time.  I could see how puzzle software would be a good tool to have at this point.

Then, the last problem was how to share this.  I use a Mac, so had no problem saving pages in pdf format.  You can select this option whenever you print a page.  Then, my Mac pdf reader allowed me to save in jpg format, which is what is posted below.  Total software cost - $0.00.  Total time cost - ridiculous.

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