• cruciverbalistCrossword authors (aka "cruciverbalists") create puzzles using a variety of methods: paper, online sites, applications
  • paper: watch Merl Reagle in action in WordPlay
  • featured websites: custompuzzles, armoredpenguin, emogic
  • featured application: Crossword Compiler [slideshow]
  • [Refs]: "How Crossword Puzzles Are Made"
  • [Refs]: "Why are crossword puzzles symmetrical?"
  • [Refs]: "These Are The Longest Words In The English Language, And They're Insane"
  • [Refs]: "A Plagiarism Scandal Is Unfolding In The Crossword World"


Simplified Authoring Process

  1. buildingchoose overall theme or list of words
  2. pick a grid size, shape and layout
  3. fill in main words / phrases
  4. fill in other words
  5. create clues
  6. add title, author, copyright
  7. publish in various formats, e.g., web (JavaScript or Java), .puz, .pdf


  • papergraph paper, pencil, dictionary & thesaurus
  • + great flexibility
  • - time consuming

Web Sites


  • crossworddesktop apps to generate puzzles, e.g., Crossword Compiler
  • + grid generation, clue numbering
  • + dictionary for reference or auto-fill-in
  • + output in variety of formats: interactive / static web page, .puz, .pdf, .jpg, Word
  • + various platforms, i.e., Windows (Win), Macintosh (Mac), Linux (Lnx)
  • - learning curve
  • 2 types- cost
  • see Applications section: draft alphabetical list of selected desktop authoring applications
  • see References section: general articles about authoring, cruciverbalism