Previously asked Questions from Crossword Maestro customers

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These are questions that have been asked at least once by Crossword Maestro customers and where the answers may be useful to others.

Questions answered by the online documentation are not answered here so your first point of reference, as always, should be the software's own documentation.

Q1. How do I use Crossword Maestro to simply list letter patterns?
Q2. I am trying to enter a grid but I cannot get the numbers to match what I see in the newspaper
Q3. I get Unable to initialize DAO/Jet db engine when I start up the software
Q4. I get "An error occurred during the move process: -113" when installing the software
Q5. I get "The CM.EXE file is linked to missing export MFC42.DLL:6605" when running the software
Q6. Is Crossword Maestro compatible with Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP?
Q7. How do you print out the clues with the grid?
Q8. How do I use Crossword Maestro to simply solve anagrams?
Q9. The computer cannot solve this clue. Why not?
Q10. Can Crossword Maestro help with long non-cryptic clues?

Q1. How do I use Crossword Maestro to simply list letter patterns?

If all you are interested in is the list of words. (e.g. you are trying to set a crossword or solve another type of word puzzle and don't want any analysis of the clue) you can get Crossword Maestro to find them by creating orphan clues of the form:

unclued (length description)

and putting the letter pattern in the appropriate place in the clue window. Pressing Solve will then search the lexicon and list the words. Up to a thousand possible answers will be listed with Try Harder selected. Without it the answers will be generated if the possibilities number two hundred or less.

Remember that you can also use Crossword Maestro's asterisked length descriptions to generate all words and phrases that match the pattern. e.g.

unclued (7*)

will generate the multi-word answer "shoe-peg" as well as single word answers.

unclued (7)

will just generate single word answers.

unclued (4-3)

will generate only 4-3 answers.

Q2. I am trying to enter a grid but I cannot get the numbers to match what I see in the newspaper

This is just a conceptual problem but it has confused at least one customer.

The answer to this one is simply to ignore the numbers when entering the grid until the end.

Concentrate solely on getting the blocks (or bars) in the right places. When they are all there the grid numbering will match the crossword in your newspaper.

The numbering is calculated automatically from the positions of the blocks as you enter them so it will be invalid until all the blocks are entered. If you focus on the numbering and try to get it right by placing blocks it can be rather difficult to see how to proceed.

Q3. I am getting the error message Unable to initialize DAO/Jet db engine when I start up the software

The following advice depends very much on what version of Crossword Maestro you have. If you downloaded the software you have version 1.2.

If you have a CD-ROM the version number will be written on it. You can also get the version number by looking at the "About Crossword Maestro..." dialog off the Help menu (but if you are getting this error you won't get this far).

Version 1.2: This problem is exceptionally rare with this version and can only possibly affect a tiny minority of users anyway. If you get it, the simplest remedy is to download and install the HTML->CM application which should instantly fix the problem as well as giving you an application that you will find useful. This software is free to Crossword Maestro owners such as yourself and the download size is very small.

Version 1.1: This can occasionally affect previously-working software after damage to the system registry. It may also happen the first time you attempt to use Crossword Maestro. If you are still using version 1.1 you might also want to consider upgrading to version 1.2. The new version has many advantages and upgrading is not expensive. Details are here.

The following should cure the problem for version 1.1 only:

(1) Uninstall Crossword Maestro by Start->Settings->Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs.

Select Crossword Maestro from the list and click on Add/Remove

(2) Erase the file:

c:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\DAO\dao350.dll

(If not already removed by the uninstall - it will tell you if it removes it. In NT 3.51 this file will be c:\msapps\dao\dao350.dll)

(If you are using Windows Explorer to erase the file make sure that DLLs are not hidden by the program. Select Options from the View menu and have the View tab to the front. Select Show all files if not already selected and press OK)

(3) Reinstall Crossword Maestro by running the setup.exe program on the CD (or by opening and closing your CD-ROM drive). (If you are using Windows NT make sure that you are logged in as a user with Administrator privileges when doing this.)

This has cured the problem in all previous instances. If it doesn't with you please contact us for more advice.

For the technically minded the problem is caused by this module previously existing on the system (having been installed by some other software) and either not having self-registered or having the results of its self-registration made invalid. If the module stays on the system when Crossword Maestro is uninstalled (as it will if another application is labelled as using it), Crossword Maestro's installation program won't overwrite it (it's the same version as the one it wants to install) and it doesn't get registered again so the problem remains. Erasing the DLL before reinstallation forces the installation program to replace and register it correcting the problem.

Q4. I get "An error occurred during the move process: -113" when installing the software

This error happens occasionally with the electronically downloadable version of the software. We aren't sure of the cause (the installation program is not our product) but the following has worked in all previous instances:

First, open the .exe file you downloaded with the classic interface of Winzip. If you don't have a copy of Winzip you can download one for free from The .exe file you downloaded is essentially a .ZIP file.

Use Winzip to extract the entire contents of the download file into a temporary directory and then run the setup.exe program in that directory. If you follow the instructions on screen the software should install without any further errors.

Don't hesitate to email us if the above instructions are unclear or you are having further problems.

Q5. I get "The CM.EXE file is linked to missing export MFC42.DLL:6605" when running the software

This is caused by an old version of the system library mfc42.dll being installed and loaded on your system. The installation program should automatically update this library to the latest version but if it fails for some reason or if there is another copy on your system which Windows loads first it may fail. At least one customer has hit this problem because another item of software wrongly installed an old version of this library into his \windows directory instead of \windows\system

First, search for all copies of the mfc42.dll library by using Start->Search->Files or folders. At least one copy (in \windows\system or \winnt\system32) should appear. You can find out what version it is by right-clicking on the file, selecting "properties" and then bringing the "Version" tab to the front. The file version number should start with a "6". However, if you are getting this error the file being loaded will start with an earlier number (probably "4").

The installation program should have installed version 6 in the \windows\system directory. If this has not happened, contact us for advice. If you see a version 4 in the \windows directory in addition to a version 6 in the system directory you should rename the version 4 to something like mfc42.old and then copy version 6 to its place. As a last resort putting the version 6 mfc42.dll in the same directory as the cm.exe program should fix this error.

We have only had one report of this problem so our advice is a little tentative. Don't hesitate to contact us if you need more advice or have a variation on this problem.

Q6. Is Crossword Maestro compatible with Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP?

Yes. The software will work with Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows 2000 and Windows XP and no problems have been found. There are large numbers of customers who use it happily in these environments.

Q7. How do you print out the clues with the grid?

There is no way of doing this with Crossword Maestro. The print command just prints out the grid and any filled-in letters.

Crossword Maestro was designed as a crossword solving package rather than a crossword desktop publishing package so most crossword DTP features were not priorities for the current release. As a solving tool, the grid including letters you have managed to fill in is the major concern. Future versions of the software may have DTP features added including an ability to print out crosswords in various formats. As an existing customer you'll be the first to know about any future versions.

Q8. How do I use Crossword Maestro to simply solve anagrams?

The key to this is turn the anagram into an orphan, non-cryptic anagram clue in the form:

[letters] (anag) ([length decription])

For example:

ROASTMULES (anag) (10*)

with the clue type set to straight will give the answer:

SOMERSAULT Confidence: 99%
The answer is the only known solution to the anagram.

Q9. The computer cannot solve this clue. Why not?

The first thing to realise is that no computer program can solve every crossword clue. To achieve this would require strong artificial intelligence and if we had invented that it would fundamentally change the world and we would not have released the first application as a crossword solver!

It is also important to realise that the human mind and a computer work in completely different ways. Clues that seem easy to you may be difficult for the software and vice versa! This last point is actually an advantage. When regarded as a solving aid it is important that it complements your abilities rather than mirroring them.

Having said that, the software does do very well and embodies years of artificial intelligence research. It also contains a massive knowledge base which contains hundreds of millions of facts it can use to aid in solving the clues. Depending on how you define the word "solve" you should see it solving a significant majority of typical cryptic clues. After, getting more checked letters it will almost always solve the clues it failed to solve earlier (if the answer is in its lexicon).

If you are seeing poor solving performance, the reason may be one of the following common errors in using the program:

  • Failure to add checked letters when known. The box below the clue window can be used to insert a pattern of checked and unchecked letters. Even a single letter can help dramatically. With several checked letters the program can find the answer from the pattern alone and use the clue to rank the possibilities in order. If this is not happening, clicking the try harder button may make it do this earlier.
  • Failure to include the length description at the end of the clues when entering an entire crossword. If you do this, the software defaults to an asterisked length description which greatly diminishes the program's solving ability as it doesn't even know how many words are in the answer.
  • Categorising the clue or crossword as "straight" when it is cryptic (or vice versa). If you do this, the results will usually be hopeless!
  • Failure to scan down the list of possible answers. The computer often generates the correct answer in a position other than at the very top. If you ignore the lower candidates you will often miss the solution. Some of these low candidate answers may have a poor explanation but are often correct nevertheless.
  • If none of the above are the case, you may be doing the final common error:

  • Generalising about the software's ability from too few examples. If you only test the software with a handful of clues it is possible to be unlucky and see a disproportionately large number of failures. A good way to thoroughly explore the software is by downloading the free HTML->CM application. This will enable you to try the software with daily cryptics from the national newspapers with minimal typing. A list of such crosswords can be found here. There is a huge amount to discover about the software and you cannot uncover everything it is capable of without a significant amount of use.
  • Q10. Can Crossword Maestro solve long non-cryptic clues?

    Examples of such clues are those found in General Knowledge crosswords or some other kinds of crosswords such as the English speaking prize puzzles published in Malaysia.

    The software can be of considerable help with such crosswords but you should lower your expectations a little in terms of how accurate the software will be without input from you. If we really had written computer software that could reliably parse long natural language questions on any topic, understand those questions and then produce correct answers, a crossword solver would not be our first product!

    However, with some rephrasing of the clue, the software can often be made to produce the right answer. The kind of straight clue the software does well with are things like "type of dog", "part of car", "animal", "girl's name" etc. i.e. something short where the software doesn't have to do any kind of complicate parsing.

    The key to making it work is for you to simplify the long natural language clue into something shorter that will include the right answer. For example, the clue:

    This is commonly performed in an opera house (4)
    checked letters: A???

    can be simplified to:

    Kind of song (4)
    checked letters: A???

    (what else would be performed in an opera house?) at which point the software will give you the answer ARIA (It will actually do this even without checked letters).

    Another example would be the clue:

    Habitual idlers .... any job that entails hard work. (5)
    checked letters: S??R?

    (Taken from a recent Malaysian prize puzzle.) The software is not going to do a good job with the clue in that format but you can use your intelligence to realise that the answer is going mean something similar to the word "decline". You know this because the position of the missing word in the sentence implies a verb and from the logic of the workshy declining jobs that require hard work. Thus if you rephrase the clue to simply:

    decline (5)
    checked letters: S??R?

    and make sure it is set to straight, press Solve and you will get the two possible answers SPURN and SCORN both of which could be correct answers to the original clue.

    Even when you can't think how to recode the clue the software will help you when you have checked letters. Even entering the clue as just "unclued" will give you a list in the right circumstances. For more information on this see Question 1.

    If you have any further questions, please email

    Crossword Maestro customers