capsule review

Crossword Compiler

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Crossword Compiler

    PCWorld Rating

    Premier crossword compiler also creates Sudoku, word searches, and other puzzles.

Despite its name, Crossword Compiler isn't limited to compiling crossword puzzles. This heavy-duty puzzle generator can handle Sudoku, word searches, coded puzzles, clues in squares, and four different types of crosswords--including a vast variety of shaped crosswords and the option to design your own.

At $49, this software is not for dilettantes; it packs too many options and has a steep learning curve. It is perfect for teachers, however, and others who want to generate their own high-quality word puzzles for specific purposes.

When I tested Crossword Compiler I was able to generate a custom crossword puzzle within minutes. However, figuring out how to save the words and clues, and using them to generate a word search puzzle took quite a while. This program is not exactly intuitive. To use it to full advantage, it's important to carefully read the comprehensive Help file before diving in.

Here are some of the options that Crossword Compiler offers: puzzles in six languages (seven if you consider American and British English to be separate tongues); eleven types of puzzle; the ability to export interactive puzzles to Web pages; the ability to create your own word and clue databases; dozens of ways to edit your puzzles. That's just a sampling of the possibilities; you'll want to download the demo to get a more complete picture of the program.

Teachers and people who enjoy developing word puzzles should give Crossword Compiler a try. The demo is not time-limited, but it does print a watermark across any puzzles that you create.

--Kim Saccio-Kent

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Premier crossword compiler also creates Sudoku, word searches, and other puzzles.

    Pros

    • Very powerful word puzzle creator with many options

    Cons

    • Steep learning curve
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