CombusCrosswords are perhaps my biggest hobby. I have published many puzzles in top Romanian crossword magazines, such as Rebus Flacara, and on my own crossword site Rebus Online.
In my spare time, I program a grid composer called Combus, which is used both as a research tool, to experiment with new ideas, and as a practical tool, to generate puzzles for the free online crossword server Rebus Online.
Research-wise, Combus achieves stronger results than all previous work reported in the AI literature that I'm aware of. Combus has been used as a tool for a detailed study of crossword puzzles as a constraint problem. Part of the study and of the Combus' architecture are described in an article available for download in the "Publications" section.
On the practical side, Combus is used to compose puzzles for the Rebus Online site. Some of the puzzles generated with Combus are next to impossible to create by hand. Some interesting grids that Combus is capable to build include:
My dream is to win the National Grid Composition Contest, a highly prestigious event organized yearly by the Romanian magazine Rebus Flacara. So far, only humans have entered this competition. At this time, Combus is not prepared to compete, as the problems in the competition differ from regular crossword puzzles in two fundamental aspects:
|Photo by Bob Williamson|