Cryptic crossword solver
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Readme.md

Introduction

This is a general cryptic crossword clue solver, written in Python

Build Status

Required python packages:

(see requirements.txt) The easiest way to install the correct version of all the required packages is:

Optionally, create a new virtual environment so that your system python isn't affected:

pip install virtualenv
virtualenv env
source env/bin/activate

Install all required python packages:

pip install -r requirements.txt

Other requirements:

python (tested with 2.7)
rake

Installation:

Clone this repository somewhere convenient, then cd to the folder containing this file.

Run this command to download the python NLTK Wordnet corpus from http://nltk.org/data.html:

rake download

Generate the n-grams and synonyms datasets by running

rake data

in the main cryptics folder (this will take a few minutes to finish).

Usage:

Web interface: http://localhost:8080/

rake server

Test cases (requires the python nose package):

rake test

Clue format:

For each clue, you must give the number of letters in the answer, and you may give a letter pattern for the answer to follow, where a '.' represents an unknown letter (ignoring spaces). For example:

Clue:

Initially babies are naked (4)

Answer:

BARE

Clue:

Lees horse galloping to dangerous_coasts (3,6) l.....r..

Answer:

LEE_SHORES

You can give the solver a hint that a set of words form a phrase (and need not be treated separately) by combining them with an underscore (as in 'dangerous_coasts' above).

Output format:

The output is given both as a hierarchical representation of the clue structure and as a natural-language description:

100%: (top (sub (sub_ "initially") (lit "babies") -> B) (lit "are") (d "naked") -> BARE) 
'initially' means to take a substring of 'babies' to get B. 
'naked' is the definition. 
Combine 'b' and 'are' to get BARE. 
BARE matches 'naked' with confidence score 100%. 

and

90%: (top (lit "lees") (ana (lit "horse") (ana_ "galloping") -> HORES) (d "to_dangerous_coasts") -> LEE_SHORES) 
'galloping' means to anagram 'horse' to get HORES. 
'to_dangerous_coasts' is the definition. 
Combine 'lees' and 'hores' to get LEE_SHORES. 
LEE_SHORES matches 'to_dangerous_coasts' with confidence score 90%. 

Interacting with the solver

Here's a demo of more ways you can play with the solver interactively: cryptic_demo.ipynb

More Information

To learn more about how the solver works, see this blog post: http://blog.robindeits.com/2013/02/11/a-cryptic-crossword-clue-solver/.

Acknowledgements

This program uses the English bigrams corpus from After the Deadline licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

In addition, it uses the UK Advanced Cryptics Dictionary, Copyright (c) 2009 J Ross Beresford. For license information see raw_data/UKACD.txt.

Indicator word lists are from: http://sutherland-studios.com.au/puzzles/anagram.php http://www.crosswordunclued.com/2008/09/dictionary.html

License

See LICENSE.txt