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Martin Paul Eve

Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London

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I've been a big fan of cryptic crosswords for several years now. For those who are unaware, these are crosswords in which the clue consists of both a definition (almost always, except in the case of triple definition clues, at the beginning or end) and a subsidiary indicator. For instance:

Team leader led around in circles for so long (6-2)

The answer is: toodle-oo

"Team leader" = T
"led around" = DLE (an anagram of "led", around being the word indicating that you should perform an anagram)
"in circles" = "OO___OO" (so, put the anagram of "led" inside circles)
"for so long" = the definition is: "so long" in the sense of goodbye/farewell/toodle-oo

As you can see, the clues can get somewhat complex and, at the end of the day -- especially when starting out -- you can get to the point where you just can't get a solution, despite having got all the intersecting letters and thought about it for days. For this reason, I created an online crossword helper.

There are quite a few sites that purport to help in this way, but I believe I have put together a better dictionary set than most.

You get three fields:

Clue format (so in here you can put, for example: 6,2 (always use a comma, not a hyphen))
Grid pattern (example: t??dle?? (omit all punctuation))
Anagram (the letters of an anagram you wish to solve (the "exact" checkbox specifies if the anagram is complete))

There are definitely some bugs in this because I only really ever intended it for personal use, but figured that it might be useful to somebody out there, so I'm making it public.

The site can be found at