Instant Puzzle Maker

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. [MAKING PUZZLES] When I click the "Make My Puzzle" button, nothing happens. What's the deal?

    Your browser probably has JavaScript disabled. Enable JavaScript via your browser settings.

  2. [MAKING PUZZLES] When I click "Make My Puzzle" or "Remake" repeatedly, the puzzles vary in all sorts of ways. Can I specify the exact formatting features I want, or is it purely random?

    It's random. Random variability is a way of giving you options without cluttering the user interface with too many input fields and selectors. If you don't like one puzzle version, maybe you'll like the next one.

  3. [MAKING PUZZLES] What's a Fill-In Crossword puzzle?

    A Fill-In puzzle is a crossword puzzle with no numbered cells and no Across/Down clue list. The object is to fit all the words into the puzzle any way you can. It's a crossword puzzle that requires a Sudoku-style approach to solve. If you haven't tried this kind of puzzle before, give one a whirl at PuzzleFast/play. It can be quite an entertaining challenge.

    A special kind of Fill-In puzzle is one with no clue list at all. That might be appropriate for cases in which the solution is drawn from a known domain of words—the fifty U.S. states, for example.

    Previously, PuzzleFast implemented Fill-In as a Crossword variation, but it's now offered as a distinct puzzle type.

  4. [MAKING PUZZLES] When I make a Crossword or Fill-In Crossword, some of my words are not included in the puzzle. Why?

    There are two potential reasons for that.

    First, some sets of words simply won't fit together completely. For example, imagine trying to make a Crossword puzzle with the words ZOO, APPLE, and JET. ZOO simply can't intersect with APPLE or JET.

    The second reason is that almost everyone wants a puzzle that fits on one or two printed pages. PuzzleFast has some sense about how many words are too many, though it's not stated as a formal limit.

    Don't worry, though. Even if PuzzleFast uses only a portion of your words for a given puzzle, the words will be chosen at random from your full set. Each time you click "Make My Puzzle" a different subset of your words will be used.

  5. [MAKING PUZZLES, PRINTING] How do I change a puzzle's font?

    For puzzle output, PuzzleFast uses your browser's default web page font. You can change this in Internet Explorer 8, for example, via Tools | Internet Options | General | Fonts. All other modern browsers provide a similar mechanism for setting the default font.

  6. [MAKING PUZZLES, PRINTING] What's the significance of the "L C R" links that appear on some puzzles?

    These links allow you change the orientation of the puzzle on the fly: Left, Center, or Right.

    With Center orientation, which is the default for all puzzles, the puzzle is centered on the screen or page and the clue list appears directly under the puzzle. With Left or Right orientation, the puzzle is moved to the specified side, and the clue list appears beside the puzzle if there's enough horizontal space, otherwise under the puzzle.

    You may want to change the puzzle's orientation for aesthetic reasons, but the main purpose of this feature is to help you fit the puzzle and clues on the screen or page more effectively. Depending on the shape and size of the puzzle and clue list, one orientation may be far better than another, with larger text and less wasted space.

  7. [MAKING PUZZLES, PRINTING] What's the significance of the "Letter" and "A4" lines/guides that appear on some puzzles?

    These are printing aids. They indicate the approximate widths of printed pages. Use these guides when you're sizing a puzzle.

    These guides are functionless, mind you. You can't click on them. They don't actually do anything. They just give you a frame of reference for eyeballing the size of a puzzle.

    Monitors and printer settings vary widely. Use your browser's Print Preview function to see exactly how a puzzle fits onto a printed page.

  8. [PRINTING] When I print the puzzle I made, a bunch of junk appears in the header and the footer of the page—stuff like the date, the page number, the URL, etc. Can I get rid of that?

    Your browser is responsible for the header/footer information that appears on the printed page. Change your browser settings to get rid of it. In Internet Explorer 8, for example, you may do so via File | Page Setup.

  9. [PRINTING] Sometimes it's hard to get a puzzle to fit on a single printed page. Any suggestions for printing large puzzles?

    To achieve a nice printed puzzle, always experiment with the puzzle's font size and orientation (if applicable). Also, try printing in both portrait and landscape. Trial-and-error is the way to go.

    You can set the puzzle's orientation (if applicable) using the "L C R" links discussed above. You can resize the puzzle using the "A" and "A" sizers that appear at the top of each puzzle.

    Note that some puzzles feature "Letter" and "A4" lines/guides that indicate the approximate width of printed pages. These guides assume standard paper sizes in portrait orientation and with typical margin settings.


    Print—better yet, Print Preview—the puzzle once, then resize or re-orient as necessary, then print again, and so on. If you're using a modern browser, this technique likely will yield a suitable printed page. And if you use Print Preview, you won't be wasting paper and ink!

    Bear in mind that it's not strictly necessary, nor even always feasible, to fit a puzzle on a single page. Indeed in some cases, for puzzles containing many words, PuzzleFast will proactively put a page break between the puzzle and the clues.

    As a last resort, you might try copying your puzzle—either as text or as an image (via screen capture)—and pasting it into another application with a printing capability. Copying and pasting works pretty well for some puzzles, but not for all.

  10. [PRINTING] When I make a crossword puzzle containing a black cell, the printed version of the puzzle shows just a small black box in the cell. How can I get the full cell to be black on the printed puzzle?

    Whether you see a small black box or a full black background on the printed page depends on whether your browser is set to print background colors and images. If your browser doesn't print background colors, you will see only the small black box as a placeholder.

    You can set Internet Explorer 8 to print background images/colors via Tools | Internet Options | Advanced | Printing. Also, you can set this option for individual pages using File | Page Setup.

    You can set Mozilla Firefox to print background images/colors via File | Page Setup | Format & Options.

    Other browsers have similar settings.

  11. [SAVING, SAVED PUZZLES] Can I save my word list for later use?

    You can and should save your word list locally, on your own computer. That is, select your entire list, copy it, paste it into a text file or some other file, and save it. This is a very wise practice if you do a lot of puzzle making. You never know when you'll want to make a new puzzle from the same words.

    At this time, PuzzleFast does not allow you to save word lists directly on the site. But please see the next question. There's a way to get at the word list that was used to make a saved puzzle.

  12. [SAVING, SAVED PUZZLES] Saved puzzles now have a "Make a Similar Puzzle" option (link). What's the rationale?

    Puzzles are saved as finished products and can't be edited. But if you'd like to make a change or a correction to a saved puzzle, or if you'd like to work with the same words and clues that appear in a saved puzzle, you can click "Make a Similar Puzzle" to load that puzzle's original input data into PuzzleFast's main interface. Because of the randomization involved, you won't be able to recreate the original puzzle, but you'll be able to derive similar puzzles from it. This is the closest thing to puzzle editing that PuzzleFast currently offers.

  13. [SAVING, SAVED PUZZLES] Once I save a puzzle using the "Save/Share" function, can I easily embed the puzzle on my blog or website?


  14. [GENERAL] How can I contact the administrator of this site?

    Please e-mail admin {at} PuzzleFast {dot} com or visit Twitter.com/PuzzleFast or Facebook.com/PuzzleFast. Your feedback is appreciated!

PuzzleFast Instant Puzzle Maker

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