Dr.Fill: Crosswords and an Implemented Solver for Singly Weighted CSPs

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Abstract

We describe Dr.Fill, a program that solves American-style crossword puzzles. From a technical perspective, Dr.Fill works by converting crosswords to weighted CSPs, and then using a variety of novel techniques to find a solution. These techniques include generally applicable heuristics for variable and value selection, a variant of limited discrepancy search, and postprocessing and partitioning ideas. Branch and bound is not used, as it was incompatible with postprocessing and was determined experimentally to be of little practical value. Dr.Filll's performance on crosswords from the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament suggests that it ranks among the top fifty or so crossword solvers in the world.

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