back to article Humans best crossword-puzzling computer

Officially, humans are the only ones who can enter the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, which was held in Brooklyn, New York over the weekend. But this time artificial intelligence expert Matt Ginsberg of On Time Systems has put his Dr Fill crossword solver to the test. As the results show, you don't have to throw out your …

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  1. Chris Miller
    Holmes

    But then US crosswords lack the cryptic challenge of the toughest UK ones. Get back to me when Dr Fill can solve a Listener in under 3 weeks (I usually struggle to understand the rubric).

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    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      until they

      can make a computer a lateral thinker it will never be as good

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    US crossword?

    But how would it fare with a UK broadsheet cryptic crossword?

    And how woudl it handle the Guardian which, in the 70's managed, to publish the wrong grid for its Saturday Prize Crossword. Humans adapted well, and there were 135% *more* entrants than usual that weekend.

  3. Graham Marsden

    Ok, but...

    ... although I understand the reason for restricting the "letter crunching" ability, how would it cope with a crossword clue I remember from many years ago which was simply:

    V? (6,2,7)

    Scroll down for the answer...

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    The answer was "Centre of gravity"! :-)

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Ok, but...

      I was unfamiliar with the format of that clue (now I'll know in future what the numbers mean). That was the main reason I was tripped up. Just as Dr. Fill was likely tripped up by the nonstandard words (the backwards and diagonal words--your average crossword only runs the words to the right (across) and down.

      Now, granted most US crosswords aren't that hard--they're not meant to be. They're meant to kill a half-hour or so on the kitchen table or on the train. Most papers typically publish their toughies on Sunday when people have more time to work on it (I know this is true for the New York Times crosswords--well-known for being particularly challenging among mass-printed crosswords).

      The toughest crosswords (as well as their relatives like diagramless) are usually reserved for puzzle books so that hardcore solvers know where to look and casual solvers don't get frustrated.

  4. Caltharian
    Happy

    or even better set it up against the ankh-morpork Times crossword

    that one is supposed to be fiendishly difficult!

    1. frank ly

      And....

      ... if you get too many correct answers, the Patrician starts taking an interest in you.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Recreate Stallman,...

    like a broken record?

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