New features added:
New bitmap feature
Acrostic3 can now make a bitmap of your puzzle grid in almost anysize
and with any font you want. This is a great help when it comes to
sharing your puzzles. You import the bitmap into a Word file, for
example, or use it on a website. (Example).
Pruning the dictionary
Another new feature is the
ability to prune the dictionary of unwanted words before each
"heuristic search." Each time you enter the search you are
able to check words off which you know you will never use in a puzzle..
thus, over time, the dictionary files become fine tuned.
Along with this a new feature
has been added to the Wordlist manager. This will take a sorted list of
words and add them to the dictionary files.
Acrostic 3.1-beta Major Update!
Thanks to all
beta-testers! Major Update has been sent out to all beta-testers.
All of your comments, reports and suggestions have shaped the continuing development of what I
think is going to be the finest Acrostic puzzle maker on the planet! A
great number of the new features in this update are directly the result of
feedback I got from all of you! Keep it coming!
New Features in 3.1
|1. Makes legal puzzles! You can now "legalize" your
puzzles by making sure that no Quote word has more than one link
to any Answer word. If you ever hope to publish your puzzles, this
becomes very important. More about this later...
|2. Precision File Save and Load - The program now saves ALL
puzzle cell data and retrieves it accordingly. This serves the
user's new complete control over letter distribution and cell
mapping, and there is no longer any random function in the loading
of a puzzle file. I made sure that you can still load all your
puzzle files from 3.0, and when you save them they will be
converted to the 3.1 format.
|3. Letter Distribution feature - The puzzle grid (in
"Grid" view) now functions as means by which you can
swap the links of the Quote letters anyway you want. This can be
used in many different ways. In can help to satisfy another
preference of puzzle editors, that there be good (even) letter
This means, essentially, that each Answer word is contributing
as much as it can to the solution of the Quote, and likewise each
word in the Quote is contributing as much as it can to the
solution of the Answer words. This could be called
"balancing" the letter distribution. Bad letter
distribution could make a puzzle frustratingly difficult to solve.
Now you can swap the links around at will!
In version 3.1 you can see the mapping (throughout the quote)
of all your Answer words. You can make sure the word is not all
bunched up in a short region of the Quote and spread it out. And
you can see the mapping of the Acrostic, making sure no word in
the Quote has more than one letter from the Acrostic text. This
means guessing the Acrostic contributes evenly to the solution of
Another thing I have been thinking about lately is ways to make
a puzzle easier to solve by selective cell swapping. The first
theory I came up with might be called the "Bootstrap"
technique. This involves linking the some easy answer words to the
easy quote words. This would be help the solver get started
quickly. The difficulty of getting started on most Acrostic puzzle
is I thinks what puts a lot of people off them. Acrostics would be
more popular if constructor's would map out in this way the
opening links to give the solve a quick feeling of accomplishment.
Most people think Acrostics are just too difficult to do: they are
no fun for them. The cell-mapping tool can it possible to make
your puzzle easier to solve, and you will have a happy solver!
(And if you have made a puzzle which is just too easy to solve,
you can likewise make it a bit more difficult by changing your
|4. Letter Frequency Setting
You can now set the letter frequency table to anything you
want. This determines what are considered the most common letters,
and the least common letters. This suggestion came from a beta
tester in Wales who was making Acrostics in Welsh! That language
of course has a totally different set of "common" and
"least common," so this feature was added. The classic
string is of course "ETAOIN SHRDLU" which was the letter
order used by typesetters, with the most common the nearest to
their hand. But as we see in constructing acrostics "W"
and "H" show up more often in written text than they do
in dictionary words. So I moved "W" and "H"
into the "Problem Chars" category (the 11 least common
letters). That way the program always reminds me to use up W and
|5. There is a new item in the Tools menu "Reload Word
Lists" - This used sometimes after doing the Heuristic
search, which takes over the word lists.
I have begun work on a
solver program which be part of the eventual package. This will allow the
puzzles you create to be solved by someone. I am trying to think of the
nicest way to do that. I just want it to be easy to use and intuitive.
More on that later.
That's about all for