Monday, 14 May 2018

Crossword Solver King Guide

User guide for Crossword Solver King and Crossword Solver King Pro apps for Android.

Crossword Solver King has over 280,000 words which you can easily search helping you find those difficult crossword clues.

The guide will explain how to use the app for solving crosswords, make the best use of advanced features like filters and other powerful searches you can do for other word games such as Scrabble and Countdown.



Welcome


To quickly familiarise yourself with the app, there is an interactive list of the various search types for you to try out. Press the SHOW ME button on each of the hints to see what it does. 



You enter your own search queries in the text box at the top of the app and then press the SEARCH button to start the search. Press the X button (top-right) in the tool bar to clear a query.

Pressing the menu button will give you options for settings, information about the app and a link to this user guide.

To return to the main help screen from a search, press the back button.



Missing Letters

As you fill out a crossword you will also fill out other clues with letters. Use the app to find matching words, you use a full-stop (period) to represent a missing (unknown) letter:

r..p....

The app finds 64 words such as raspberry, ragpicker and respected. You can quickly scroll through the results to find your word. For any words that you do not know the meaning, press the spy glass icon to the right of the word to look it up.

You can also use question marks, ?,  to represent missing letters, enter c??v?r to find clever, clover, carver.


If you don't have any letters yet, cryptic clues helpfully give you some, for example:

Sort of cable - flatter one, aluminium (7)

I'm going to assume sort of cable is the definition, even though sort indicates an anagram. I cannont yet think of another word for flatter, but i for one (Roman numeral I) and Al for the chemical symbol for Aluminium, so lets try ....ial

Out of the 59 nine matches, coaxial looks right as it is a type of cable and coax means to flatter.

Tip! Consonants, especially JKMQWXZ are really good for narrowing down the number of matches

Tip! Depending on the clue you can guess the ending of a word, s, ed, ing. Plug these letters to help find the right word in.



Shortcuts

If you have many missing letters, you can use numbers to represent a group of dots.


Enter z9 to find zookeepers, zombielike

z9 is equivalent to entering z.........


Anagrams

Crosswords,  especially cryptic crosswords, usually have several anagram clues, denoted by (anag.) for concise crosswords and many other sneaky indicators for cryptic clues.

To find anagrams enter the letters and press search, for example:

enter eprsu 

to find pursue, sprue and super

The app will also find sub-anagrams, smaller words using the same letters that you entered. These are useful for puzzles such as Wordwheels, TV shows like Countdown and games like Word Cookie and 4 Pics 1 Word.

Tip! You can turn off sub-anagrams from the settings menu


Two Word Anagrams

Enter Manchester United to find mechanised nutter, inducement haters, untested chairmen

The space indicates to the app to look for two words that use all the letters. In the example above the app will first search for words of length 10 and 6 letters, and then search for other combinations of words that total 16 letters.

Three word anagrams are also supported, try cli ntea stwood to find old west action. The spaces in the query set the size of the 3 words to be searched, 3-4-6 in this example. In practice you will find that most 3 word searches will return 1000's of results and may take 10 seconds or more. For crosswords, I find it is better to guess one of the words in a 3 word answer, such as and or the.


Blank Letters

In games such as Scrabble you have blank tiles representing any letter, in the app you use + to represent a blank tile.

Enter google++++ to find bootlegger, boondoggle, egyptology

For cryptic crossword clues, you may be given part of the answer as an anagram and the remaining letters you will have to deduce from the rest of the clue. So you could enter the anagram letters and +'s for the remaining letters. For example, here is a clue from the i newspaper:

22ac Stratus spreading around break of day - something in the heavens (8)

Spreading indicates an anagram , stratus is one letter short but we can use + for the unknown letter.




stratus+ returns 7 matches: stardust, startups, statures, stratous, stratums, turistas, upstarts

Stardust is something in the heavens, and break of day indicates d, the first letter of the word day, so stardust is the answer. Notice how the app highlights the blank letter in the list of results.

Tip! You can set the blank letter colour in the settings menu


Definitions

You can press the information icon on the right of a word to look up its definition on Google.  You can change from Google to Merriam-Webster, MW Thesaurus, Collins, Oxford Dictionaries or Wikipedia via the settings menu. For Scrabble fans I recommend the Word Game Dictionary lookup which checks if the word is allowed, its score and definition.

The app works with the English Dictionary App from Livio, an offline dictionary. If you have the English Dictionary app installed, you can send words to the app for it to display their definition.

Instead of using the settings menu to change the default dictionary provider, you can long press a word to bring up a dialog of options:



The pop-up menu is quite large now, so you may have to scroll the menu to see all the options. Pressing copy will copy the word to the system clip board which you can paste back into the query field on the main screen. Copy All will paste all the words to the clip board so you can paste them into some other app.


Suffix @ Prefix

This search type is not very useful for cruciverbalists but will be useful to wordsmiths.

Whereas a . represents a single letter, @ represents 1 or more letters

Enter @ace to find face, hyperspace, peace

You can also mix . and @ in your search,
Enter sup@x. to find supergalaxy
Here @ represents ergala and the . y


Supergrams

Find larger words that contain your anagram letters, use * to represent 1 or more extra letters (blank tiles)

Enter microsoft* to find discomforting, nonconformists, oversimplification

nonconformists contains all the letters in microsoft plus nnnos.

This feature would be more useful to a crossword setter!


Filters

Most searches will return an overwhelming 5000 results, to help you find the right word the app has powerful filters to help you narrow down your search.

Lets first look at an example:

1ac Cross inlaid with gold on church vessel(8)

I have letters a and p, so I try.a...p..



64 Matches, lets see if we can narrow this down. The clue mentions gold, typically this means letters Au, or, ore. I will use a filter to look for words containing the word 'au'.
Press the pink filter button bottom right. Enter au into the word filter:




Press search:



Saucepan looks good, it contains letters CE for church and span means to cross, so span is inlaid with auce to give saucepan which is a vessel.


The standard version of the app has 8 filters, the Pro has 10 filters:

Containing Letters - Filter words that contain the letters you have specified, the order of the letters does not matter and you can specify a letter more than once. So aabc will filter words that contain at least 2 a's, 1 b and 1c.

Containing Word - Like Containing Letters filter but the order of the letters must be the same. So abc will filter words containing the letters (in order) abc.

Excluding Letters - exclude words that contain any of the letters you have specified. This filter is useful if you do Codeword crosswords.

Starting With / Ending With - Only include words that start or end with the letters (in order)
you have specified.

Word Size filters allow you to search for words bigger than a certain size, smaller than a certain size or equal to a specific length you have set.

The Pro filters allow you specify a word pattern, similar to a crossword (missing letter) search, use . for an unknown letter.  So .tr... will look for 6 letter words where the second letter is a t and the third an r. This is useful for Scrabble games where you specify the letters on the board you want to use. You also can use @ to mean 1 or more letters.

The Pro Regular Expression filter is for advanced users who know RegEx, a powerful matching tool used in computer string processing, don't panic I will give you a quick guide.

In the word pattern filter, your pattern is converted into RegEx. So a . is converted in [a-z] meaning any letter a to z, @ is converted to [a-z]+ meaning 1 or more letters. Here are some more examples:


  • [aeiou] letter must be a vowel
  • [a-z]* any letter none or more times
  • [a-z]+ any letter one or more times
  • [a-z] any letter just once

For a simple crib sheet, please take a loot at https://www.petefreitag.com/cheatsheets/regex/ 


Codewords

Codeword crosswords substitute numbers for each letter of the alphabet. You are shown a completed grid of numbers, given 3 letters and you then have to deduce what the numbers are for each letter.



The first step is to fill out the grid with the letters you are given. You then have to try work out words that will fit the grid, this can be tricky but words that use the same letter more than once will be easier to guess.

Lets say you have a word that is made up of the following numbers:

14 12 8 8 23 17 17 23

The 3rd/4th letters are the same,so are the  5th/8th and 6th/7th. In the app enter this query:

..112332



The app finds 11 matches, including barrette, cassette and pallette.

Breaking down the query, ..112332, the dots represent any letter and the numbers represent letters that are the same, here I specified 3 letters than must be the same 1,2 and 3. So for cassette, 1 is S, 2 is E and 3 is T. Mapping this back to the clue, 14 12 8 8 23 17 17 23, 1 is 8, 2 is 23 and 3 is 17, so S is 8, E is 23 and T is 17.

Lets say we already had E, you would then enter the query as ..11E22E
Notice that I use 2 for the T now.

The Excluding Letters filter is really handy for Codewords, lets say we already have letters LMFR, so we can exclude any words that contain these letters:



 Enter the letters you already know that aren't in the clue, press search.


The app now only matches cassette.


Settings

You can get to the settings screen by pressing the menu key (top right) and then pressing Settings from the menu.


The settings shown above are
  • Dictionary Definition - choose which dictionary provide to use when you press the information icon next to a word
  • You can set the maximum number of results return to 100, 500, 1000 or 5000.
  • You can set the font size of the results and even select a large mono-spaced font.
  • Letter highlighting, chose the colour of the letters in Blank and Supergram searches
  • Automatically Show keyboard, enable to cause the keyboard to appear when you go to the main screen
  • If the filter button is in the way, you can remove it here by unchecking Show Filter Button
  • If you only want to see anagram and no sub-anagrams you can uncheck the Show-Sub-anagrams

Go Pro

The standard version of the app shows banner ads from Google Admob and contains analytics (Google's Firebase) to show you relevant ads. This means the app will eat your data and bandwidth by downloading ads, take up extra storage (standard - 12Mb, pro 6Mb) and you will have less screen space to view your results.




For a small price, less than a cup of coffee, you can download the Pro version of the app. The Pro version also has the following extra filters, Word Pattern and Regular Expression.

From the main home screen scroll down to the Go Pro tip and press FIND OUT MORE. You will be taken to the Pro version of the app on the Google Playstore.



Help Out

Thanks for using the app and if you have upgraded to Pro, thanks again.

If you can think of any other uses for the app, please enter them in the comments below. Reading comments in the app store and feedback from emails, users have found all sorts of uses for the app such as deciphering handwriting, learning English, writing poetry,  writing quizzes, creating puzzles and even helping with a hearing disability ( I think they enter part of the word they heard)


Spread the word and tell your friends about the app, there is a recommend button on the Help Out tip to send your friends a link to the app on the Play Store. You can also send me feedback via email and rate the app.

I hope you will enjoy using the app for years to come, remember it's not cheating - just saving you a little time ;)


Mark

App Developer

7 comments:

  1. Liked the old name better. But you now have a typo in the first line of the guide, where Crossword is spelled incorrectly.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the correction. I liked CleverDic and the Owl icon, but downloads are flagging and the app has been stuck at #2 position for crossword solver apps for a long time. I need to try and improve the marketing of the app as a crossword solver to improve downloads and get to the #1 spot.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Brilliant! Love the regular expression filter in the pro version! Thanks for the app and the great update!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you like the new filters, let me know any interesting RegEx patterns you have used.

      Delete
  4. Got confused when looking for this app on my phone because I had not realised it had updated and I suffer Alz so was lost until I opened it. However the update has given more options I can use so thanks for that. What WAS the previous name anyway?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The downloads for the app were dwindling, I needed to make the app sound and look more like a crossword solver. Personally I preferred the owl and name CleverDic (Clever-Dictionary) but it did confuse people and most folk referred to the app as Clever Dick. Anyhow downloads have improved a bit since the new name change. Apologies for any inconvenience.

      Delete
  5. Wonderful app, liked it's unmatched power.

    ReplyDelete