Sympathy Crossword Construction

Sympathy Crossword Construction Screenshot

Sympathy helps you create professional quality crosswords for publication in print form or on the web. It has a wealth of construction and filling features to aid the compiler; its flexibility in grid drawing and puzzle layout will appeal to crossword publishers.

Sympathy creates US style Fully Checked and Diagramless crosswords, as well as Blocked and Barred cryptic crosswords. Completed puzzles can be printed directly, or exported in a variety of formats for publication in paper form. Sympathy can also output crosswords as HTML, with grids in bitmap formats such as JPEG and PNG for web publication.

Like to try before you buy? No problem: visit the Download Sympathy Crossword Construction page to download and install a trial version of Sympathy. When you are ready to buy the product, click on the Buy Now button or visit the Buy Sympathy Crossword Construction page for all the purchase options.

Version: 3.4
System requirements: Microsoft® Windows XP, Windows Vista®, or Windows 7


Basic Features

Advanced Features

Basic Features

This section lists the main features for creating crossword grids, adding clues, and exporting the finished result. See Module 0 of the Sympathy Tutorial for an example of how these features are used in practice.

Puzzle Types

Sympathy New Crossword Wizard Puzzle Type Pane

Sympathy has full support for the most popular puzzle types:

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Starting Points

Sympathy New Crossword Wizard Grid Pane

You can create a crossword by:

  • Choosing a stock grid from one of the supplied libraries
  • Reusing your own stock grid
  • Starting with a regular grid pattern
  • Importing a puzzle in the ipuz open standard format

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Grid Editing

Sympathy Grid View

Editing functions help you enter the grid you want quickly:

  • You can use the mouse or the keyboard to change the grid
  • There are 10 grid symmetry types to choose from
  • You can create grids up to 100 rows by 100 columns
  • Editing automatically preserves the symmetry of the grid

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Grid Typography

Sympathy Grid Typography

The appearance of grids is highly customizable:

  • All grid dimensions, colors and fonts are configurable
  • Thematic answers can be highlighted using fonts, text colors or background shading
  • Blocks can be completely filled or Italian Style
  • Unused cells can be left empty to make "holes" or create Irregular grid outlines
  • Numbering can be omitted or manually assigned to any of the four cell corners
  • Cells can contain more than one answer letter (for "rebus" themes)
  • Cells can be marked with a circle
  • Cell edges can be omitted, given various dash styles, or forced to be rules or bars
  • Answer letters can optionally be shown in the blank grid

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Clue Typography

Sympathy Grid View

Sympathy offers full control over clue formatting and puzzle layout, so you can:

  • Override the conventional clue numbering
  • Customize the overall character and paragraph formatting of clues
  • Change font, type size and emphasis of characters within clues
  • Choose the style of answer enumerations
  • Control the puzzle and solution layouts using the WYSIWYG editor
  • Define your own fields such as the puzzle title, author and preamble
  • Design layout templates to reuse in new crosswords

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Crossword Publication

Sympathy Export Crossword Dialog

These are the main ways of publishing completed crosswords:

  • Printing the puzzle or solution directly to the computer's printer
  • Exporting in word processor format (RTF) for inclusion in another publication
  • Exporting in the ipuz open standard format
  • Exporting as HTML for web publication in a printable form
  • Exporting grid images in bitmap formats such as JPEG and PNG

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Advanced Features

Sympathy has these additional features for grid construction, filling, analysis and clue writing. See Modules 1 to 4 of the Sympathy Tutorial for examples of how these features are used in practice.

Grid Filling

Interactive Filling Dialog

Sympathy has a rich set of filling options useful at different stages:

  • Very fast automatic creation of up to 10 unique fills
  • Interactive filling for precise word selection
  • Filling individual words from a list or by cycling through the possibilities
  • Filling a subset of the grid
  • Filling from up to 8 dictionaries in a priority order
  • Undesirable words can be temporarily or permanently removed
  • Duplicate words can be allowed or suppressed

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Grid Transformations

Grid Resize Dialog

You can change the complete grid in a number of ways:

  • Reflection of the grid in the main diagonal
  • Rotation of the grid through 90 degrees
  • Grid resizing

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Lexicographical Support

Definition Window

Sympathy includes a range of different lexicographical resources:

  • The Core English list includes 67,000 common words (with and without inflections)
  • The Edited English list includes 264,372 words (with and without inflections)
  • The US Puzzle list includes American English vocabulary with around 282,112 words and phrases
  • The integrated dictionary/thesaurus has definitions for 195,000 entries
  • Citations indicate dictionaries where a further 135,000 entries are found
  • You can also look up words using Internet search engines, dictionaries and encyclopedias

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Clue Databases

Sympathy Clue Maintainer

Sympathy stores clues in database files:

  • new and updated clues are automatically saved to a clue database
  • previously written clues for each answer are shown in the Clue Workshop
  • grids can be filled using the words in a clue database
  • clues can be imported from text files and from crosswords created with Sympathy

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Grid Statistics

Grid Statistics Dialog

Detailed statistics allow you to monitor grid construction and filling:

  • Comprehensive grid statistics including average answer length and checking level
  • Lists of answers that have breached configurable checking rules
  • Frequency of use of different letters of the alphabet
  • Analysis of dictionary use during filling
  • Frequency of use of different answer lengths
  • Clicking on a statistic selects the objects that contribute to it

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Wordplay Wizard

Grid Statistics Dialog

The Wordplay Wizard includes comprehensive lists of cryptic clue indicators and identifies how answers can be formed using treatments such as:

  • Anagramming
  • Reversal
  • Charades
  • Container and Contents
  • Head, Tail, Middle and Ends Deletion
  • Alternating letters
  • Substitution

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Grid Statistics Dialog

Sympathy has unrivalled support for gimmicks used in thematic or "variety" cryptics (see the Crossword Gallery for further information about the example grids):

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Grid Statistics Dialog

You can process and integrate your own word and clue lists:

  • Word List Merge sorts and combines text-based word lists
  • Dictionary Builder converts text-based word lists into Sympathy dictionaries
  • Clue Maintainer edits and converts clue databases

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