Suggestions for Puzzle Solver

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Suggestions for Puzzle Solver

Postby Alex Boisvert » Tue Mar 29, 2011 5:32 pm

I was thrilled to see a new version of Crossword Solver (now called Puzzle Solver) out on the market. It has a ton of improvements, but I think it could use more. I was hoping to make this forum a clearinghouse for suggestions. Antony - if this is not the place for this kind of thing, I'm happy to take this somewhere else.

1. I would like shift+arrow to mimic the functionality of Across Lite. This feature is especially important for me.

2. I would love to see an option for printing the puzzle with the grid on the bottom of the page, like the ACPT does. Left-handed solvers might appreciate having an option with the grid on the left as well.

Other suggestions?
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Crosswod Solver suggestions

Postby Papa John » Tue Mar 29, 2011 7:51 pm

I would like to be able to eliminate the clue pane on the right side of the grid and rely soley on the clues being displayed above the grid.

I would like to be able to use the space bar to delete letters in the grid.

I would like to see some form of indication that the puzzle is complete and is either correct or not, ala "Mr. Happy Pencil" as found in Across Lite.

I would like to be able to select and copy the clues as they appear above the grid.

I have trouble saving the puzzles. CS wants to save them to my desk top and not within the CS program. When I try to open a puzzle, via the File > Open, it sends me to Documents -- no saved puzzles there.

I'm running Vista Home Premium. The image is distorted and there are color inconsistancies when I click on Maximize.
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CS suggestions

Postby Papa John » Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:07 pm

I forgot -- is there some way puzzles can be downloaded from the Internet directly into Cross Solver? Must I configure something on my PC to make that happen?
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Postby Gareth Bain » Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:56 am

I just wanted to say before I start, that I've been using Crossword Compiler itself for a good while now, and it's been easily worth 4 times what I payed for it... made me able to make far better crosswords far quicker than on paper/excel...

But that I may be a little grumpy that I've had to use Crossword Solver only because one of my favourite crosswords (Crossynergy) is switching to it. On the other hand I'm getting that puzzle free so perhaps I shouldn't be complaining!

There's only three things that bugged me, viz:
1. The timer doesn't stop when you complete the puzzle.
2. The program doesn't remember your previous windowstate when you close the program: in AL if you had the program maximised the last time it opens up maximised this time.
3. The save files are far larger than AL. 38K doesn't sound a lot, but start archiving daily puzzles and it adds up!

Thank you for your time.
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CS suggestions

Postby Robert H » Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:08 pm

Ink ain't cheap! Would like to an option to print blocks in gray instead of black.
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Postby dev joe » Tue Apr 26, 2011 2:10 pm

I downloaded Crossword Solver recently (the java version, on Linux), and it seemed to work fine. But there didn't seem to be any option for controlling the size that clues printed, and they printed ludicrously large - a 15x15 daily crossword needed two extra pages to print all the clues. This makes it useless for printing.
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Font options

Postby David Gray » Tue Apr 26, 2011 3:44 pm

When it prints out, the font is quite small and hard to read. Any way to let the user change the font and size?

Thanks.
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Re: Font options

Postby Antony Lewis » Tue Apr 26, 2011 4:53 pm

Thank you for the various suggestions. Could people mentioning problems with printout please state

1. the size of the grid being printed
2. the printout option chosen, and whether the "fit on page" item is selected
3. the clue font size selected under the View menu.

Thanks,
Antony
Last edited by Antony Lewis on Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Alex Boisvert » Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:54 pm

Hi, Antony.

I want to be more clear on the shift-arrow suggestion, and throw a few others at you:

* Shift-Arrow: In Across Lite, shift+down (and similarly for the other directions) moves the cursor to:
- the first blank square in the entry immediately below the cursor, if the current entry is an Across entry.
- If the current entry is a Down entry, shift-down acts like Tab (and shift-up acts like shift-Tab).

------
Some other keystroke functions that are missing from Crossword Solver:
* Home moves to the first letter of the current entry
* End moves to the last letter of the current entry
* Ctrl-Delete deletes all letters in the current entry, and does not move the cursor.
* Space bar deletes the current letter and moves forward a space

-----
As far as printing, consider today's CrosSynergy puzzle. It is a 15x15 standard American crossword. If one tries to print it without changing any options (3 columns, fit to page font size=14) the printout comes out to three pages.

----

Thanks so much for listening!
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Postby Antony Lewis » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:12 pm

Thanks for the clarifications.

Weird with the printing, I just tried it and it seems fine - like this. I assume you have version 1.1 of the solver. What paper size are you printing to? Mac/Windows or something else?
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Postby Alex Boisvert » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:48 pm

My printout looks like this, and that's with or without the solution visible. I have version 1.1 on Windows, and I printed to 8.5x11 paper, though I didn't see an option to change that.
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Postby dev joe » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:47 am

Mine is the java version, version 1.1 on Linux, with 8.5x11 paper, 3 columns, fit to page, default clue font size (14), and the printout of today's CrosSynergy looks very much like Alex's. Java version is the OpenJDK 1.6.0_20 provided by Fedora 14, but Sun Java 1.6.0_24 does the same thing.
The View | Clue font option does affect the printout, but I have to turn the clues down to 6 pt to make the puzzle fit on one page (by which point the on-screen clues are unreadable, and the print ones are pretty hard to read, too).
The huge margins remain. I poked around in the printer settings and found 1 inch margins specified, but the actual margins appear to be 1.75 inches.

If I set the margins to 0.5 inches, then I get this:
http://members.bellatlantic.net/~devjoe/05out.pdf
regardless of the font size chosen. This suggests to me that in the original case it ignored the fit to page option because it decided it had to make the text too small to make it work. But though the margins are smaller, they are still about 1.25 inches in this case. Somehow it is consistently using margins 0.75 inches larger than they should be, and that is messing everything else up.
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Postby Antony Lewis » Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:45 am

Thanks for the examples. Could Windows folk with wide margins please try
http://www.wordwebsoftware.com/tmp/solver1.exe? (don't try it if your margins are OK)
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Postby Amy Reynaldo » Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:27 pm

Antony, I encourage you to visit the two posts about Puzzle Solver at my blog:

http://www.crosswordfiend.com/blog/tag/puzzle-solver/

Many people chimed in with their gripes about the program.

From my standpoint, it navigates just like Across Lite. Never knew there were all those other tricks in AL! (Some of which aren't available on my Mac anyway.)

My critiques are:

1. Would be nice to customize the color. That highlighter-yellow square bugs me.

2. The Open and Save dialog boxes are weird. Clunky, nonintuitive. "Save" should default to having the current puzzle's filename in the filename field. For both "Open" and "Save," the way the folders/files/hierarchy are displayed in Solver is unlike all the other Mac applications I use.

3. It's counterintuitive to pause the timer by clicking the clock, and restart it by clicking "pause." Timer should also stop automatically when you successfully finish a crossword.

4. Timer should also be allowed to reset to 0:00. If I open a puzzle and get distracted before I start, I want to reset the timer and start at 0:00.

5. I seldom print out puzzles, but as others have said, a good single-page printout with nice format is crucial whenever printing a puzzle.

6. Not sure if this is specific to my machine (6-month-old iMac running OS 10.6.6), but every single time I launch the application, I get a warning: "Puzzle Solver is an application downloaded from the Internet. Are you sure you want to open it?" Yes! I do! Every day! Quit getting in my way! And I don't quit the app--I just use a different application and next time I click Solver in the dock, it warns me yet again.

7. Would be good to be able to have multiple .jpz puzzles open at once. (Mac Across Lite limits me to one puzzle. Black Ink allows multiple puzzles, but always hides the most current one when I leave the app for a moment, which is annoying. Surely you can improve on both??)

8. Would be great to make clues and answers copy-and-pasteable. Granted, this feature wouldn't be used by many people, but it would help me as a crossword blogger! Black Ink allows this, but once I've opened a .puz in Solver, I can't open it as a .puz in Black Ink anymore.
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Postby Alex Boisvert » Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:37 pm

Antony Lewis wrote:Thanks for the examples. Could Windows folk with wide margins please try
http://www.wordwebsoftware.com/tmp/solver1.exe? (don't try it if your margins are OK)


That one produces a decent printout for me. Thanks!
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