naet 14 days ago

Kind of fun the first time, but I think I prefer a normal crossword. Seems like the only way to progress is to pick an unfinished word and then do tons of guesses back to back of all the possibilities until one turns green, which starts to get boring when there are a lot of possibilities.

Feels more like stenography or data entry than playing a game at that point where you're just typing 10+ guesses without any investment in any one of them.

For example, when I tried the larger version, I got to a point of a 2/3 filled word: _ET.

I then had to sit and enter:

-bet -get -jet -let -met -net -pet -set -vet -wet

and finally, I got to the word: yet. And that's not even including some less common but still valid words I would guess like ret and tet, which I'm not sure are off the table as possibly valid entries. It just felt like a chore more than a puzzle to get that word, and I have to repeat it over and over for the other words. Maybe as you get to a close the letter pool gets a bit smaller so you have less guesses, but that's only after you've guessed out a significant portion of the puzzle.

Wordle avoids this by giving you information on your guesses, making them feel less like a huge string of purely random guesses. Crosswords give you cryptic clues that aren't obvious, but make you feel like any guess was based on deductive reasoning rather than some brute force attempt.

Still, nice job on building and releasing the project! And it sounds like other commenters are enjoying it more than I am, so maybe I'm just a stick in the mud or I like word games too much and have too much time invested in them.

  • sbf501 14 days ago

    I agree with this. Three-letter words that dangle by one letter are just a chore. There needs to be a balance between discoverability and guessing. Perhaps the auto-generator needs to evaluate the discoverability somehow...

    Also, why no cookie keeping your trend? That's what keeps me coming back: not wanting to break a streak! (Not to promote dark patterns or anything.)

    Also also, nice UX. I found it easy to navigate, edit, and delete.

  • danieltait 14 days ago

    Good feedback thanks and agree this definitely happens a lot especially in the harder version of the game. Maybe I can create a smarter way to show possible letters rather than the entire letters remaining

  • akudha 14 days ago

    One way to make it more enjoyable could be to do it by topic - this way the universe of words would be much smaller, instead of the entire dictionary. Topics could be - music, baseball, food etc

    • nkrisc 14 days ago

      Kind of like one clue for the whole puzzle, instead of individual ones. That sounds much more fun than simply nothing.

  • bagacrap 12 days ago

    yeah it's nothing at all like a normal (ny times) crossword which is full of fun and amazingly clever word play and cultural references. There's no sense of "aha!" or awe at the puzzle's design, no chance to learn interesting facts, no reward for one's own experience/knowledge/problem solving. It's just a tedious guess and check procession.

antonymy 14 days ago

I did very little guessing on the regular puzzle, which took me a little over 6 minutes, but the master-level one did require some brute force at first and took me much longer to finish. Once I got rolling, though, I was able to solve it intuitively. It's more like a sudoku but instead of mathematic logic you rely on your knowledge of English vocabulary and spelling. It may not have traditional clues but by giving you the pool of letters for all words it gets progressively easier as you fill in the grid and eliminates certain possibilities out of hand.

The only real issue is getting your initial foothold, especially if the grid's pre-filled letters are mostly common and not helpful in placement. Having a pre-filled J is much more useful than, say, a prefilled E.

ianferrel 14 days ago


Should probably not let people delete the initially-provided letters. I did so accidentally at one point and got very confused for a long time.

  • danieltait 14 days ago

    Oooh that shouldn't have happened. Please send feedback if it happens again

pwinnski 14 days ago

Excellent. This focuses on word recognition, which is a large part of vocabulary, omitting the need for meaning. I suppose it also provides chances for people who don't know words to work out new words based on phonetic patterns and which letters remain.

Great stuff!

haasted 14 days ago

A bit late to the discussion, but I think the game shows promise and could perhaps end up being a commute-distraction for me in daily life.

I think you should consider taking a page out of the book of Wordle and and at least mark correctly placed letters, even though the entire word is not yet correct. That would provide some kind of incremental progress, eg in the situation where I'm trying to guess "*ea*", which has the possibility of being tear, fear, teat, rear, read, lead, mead etc etc. As long as a correct dictionary word is provided, the user should receive some kind of reward.

  • danieltait 14 days ago

    Thanks for the feedback and kind words! I'll have a think on incremental progress as mentioned

0xC0ncord 14 days ago

My girlfriend and I just did this and had a lot of fun!

There were a lot of times where I thought I figured a word out but ended up having to go through about 5 or 6 really good guesses before landing on the right one. Sometimes little word games like these really can test my vocabulary.

bombcar 14 days ago

Very nice! But the white for a placed letter and gray for a original letter is too close - I was trying to figure out why no word would work when I realized I had placed the T - it wasn't an original letter.

  • danieltait 14 days ago

    Good feedback thanks, I'll try some different colours or ways to mark the originals.

eterm 14 days ago

Fun but very frustrating controls. If you mis-type a letter in one box and it's the only letter left of that letter then you can't type it elsewhere which gets me right in a muddle. Also the delete key doesn't appear to work, only the backspace.

Tab really ought to tab through the words as well as arrow keys, which don't cursor to filled in letters which is also frustrating.

I'd like to be able to type a whole word, including over-typing the letters provided.

I'd recommend playing around with the guardian crossword for inspiration of a control scheme.

But fun core idea!

  • danieltait 14 days ago

    Thanks. for the feedback. I agree the controls are not great especially on desktop. Will improve!

someguy5344523 14 days ago

This is a very neat idea! My problem is with the layout: why is there a black area below the crossword, where if I drag the crossword there the crossword disappears? That area should be a lot smaller

AMSLittleGrace 13 days ago

I like this! I would actually like an option to disable the feature where it marks a word when it's 100% correct, because it makes it too tempting to just "brute force" one word at a time instead of trying to solve the whole puzzle using the letters available. (As in, I think it would be more fun to have a "hard mode" where you do the small puzzle with no feedback at all until it's 100% correct, instead of just doing a larger puzzle.)

_Microft 9 days ago

Suggestion: also allow the "delete" key to remove a letter from the board. "Backspace" does that too but it clashs with "backwards in browser history" for people who have configured it that way.

I had fun solving it by the way!

lovehashbrowns 14 days ago

This is really fun! Seems like I’ll enjoy this more than a regular crossword puzzle because it has less of a focus on cultural references.

sleepypizza 14 days ago

Just did the basic one :) Going to ask my girlfriend to bring her laptop to my apartment tonight and race her on the hard one.

Not sure if that's a piece of observable behavior that helps you figure out a market / how you want to grow this, but definitely speaks to the kind of delight I've got out of your prototype!

  • sleepypizza 13 days ago

    We ended up just doing it together haha it was great -- we cooked beet pasta and then did this while we ate it

jciochon 14 days ago

Really enjoyed this.

One issue: sharing my results was not great. Pasting in iMessage gave the result text and the image; pasting in discord only gave the text; pasting in telegram only gave the image.

Not sure if this is even your fault, but it doesn’t have as nice of an experience there as Wordle (which I assume you’re trying to emulate).

  • maxique 14 days ago

    If the link had https:// before it, Discord and Telegram would do the same link preview that iMessage does

LynkS 8 days ago

Master crossword today has errors: Final solution contains word "RREE" and has one T left, and -1 R in the letter bank.

Great game btw.

benji-york 14 days ago

I really like it!

I feel like it could use some scoring mechanism. I want to feel friction against just making guesses until something works.

Post-completion edit:

It does have a time-based scoring mechanism. That didn't register with me at first. I continue to feel that it could use come mechanism to dissuade low-effort guessing.

propter_hoc 14 days ago

It won't displace actual crosswords for me - the point of crosswords is the clues, not the grid. Still, it's really neat and I enjoyed it, particularly the smaller version. Congrats!

nmstoker 14 days ago

How is the Share feature meant to work? It seems to be failing within Android Firefox Nightly (nothing gets copied and for a split second the positioned letters blink away then return)

joe__f 14 days ago

Seems like the pool of words is quite small; for example with T_RN it was clear that o or u would be the answer, even though a and e also give valid words

pbhjpbhj 14 days ago

A lot of comments seem as if they believe this to be a novel crossword type? I thought I'd seen the exact format in The Times (of London)?

te 14 days ago

Very fun. Didn't realize I was being timed? When did the timer start? Maybe show it on screen real-time? Increases the pressure!

TylerE 14 days ago

Not sizing properly to my screen

  • danieltait 14 days ago

    Thanks for the report. What device / browser is this? You should also be able to zoom the puzzle in and out with mouse wheel, trackpad two fingers or touch screen pinch in the meantime

    • TylerE 14 days ago

      Chrome on a Macbook

austinjp 14 days ago

Enjoyable, thanks!

The yellow colour is barely discernable on my crappy old Android, could stand to be more distinct. Orange or pink, perhaps?

guimonz 14 days ago

Nice concept, but at some point you get forced into brute forcing your solution, which isn't as much fun.

adwi 14 days ago

Suggestion: allow user to click the area with the clue to switch between down/across typing, ala NYT

benji-york 14 days ago

The keyboard control is quite nice.

  • criddell 14 days ago

    Except I wish I could delete a letter using the delete key (on my Windows keyboard).

    • pekim 14 days ago

      Backspace works for me.

vehementi 14 days ago

I despaired until I saw that it actually confirms something is right and locked in. Nice!

scottlu2 14 days ago

Love it - my wife and I enjoying playing that - on an iPad. Nicely made.

_dain_ 14 days ago

It doesn't let me enter the letter P.

fcoury 14 days ago

It's really a lot of fun, well done!

mcdonje 14 days ago

Seems like a lot of commenters like it, so there's probably an audience.

I don't think it'll be a hit with the main crossword community because the crossword constructors put a lot of humor and cleverness in the clues, which is a major draw. The personal touch makes it seem like you're in a community of clever people who are trying to entertain each other.

I suppose this would be a good learning aid for students who are learning vocabulary.