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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 http://ana.grammatic.org