xword is a crossword puzzle program for the Nokia Internet Tablet (NIT) which can read Across Lite ".puz" files. It is written in python using pyGTK. It is based on the original Xword program written by Bill McCloskey. The NIT version fixes a few bugs in the original code and adds functionality (e.g. built-in keyboard) to make the program more usable on the NIT.
Before you go any farther, you should be aware of the following caveats.
The xword program and the python libraries are available from the maemo extras repository. Go into the Application Manager, select the menu "Tools->Application catalog..." and verify that "maemo Extras" is not grayed out. If it is, select "maemo Extras", click the "Edit" button, and uncheck the "Disabled" checkbox. Then click "OK", and then "Close". Let the Application Manager reread the catalog list.
Now, click on "Browse installable applications" and then on "All". Scroll to the bottom and install "xword". If the program does not install correctly, you may need to enable Red Pill mode.
Alternatively, you can open an xterm and install everything manually as root. To do this, make sure the maemo extras repository is enabled, then run the following commands in a terminal.
apt-get install xword
See also the xword for maemo project page.
The xword program will appear in your program menu somewhere, probably "Extras". The first time you start xword, you will need to open a ".puz" crossword puzzle. The ".puz" format was created for Across Lite. Puzzles in this format can be found around the net. The New York Times provides a free classic puzzle. The Houston Chronicle also has a two week archive of free puzzles.
In general, tap the box you want to move to. That box will appear in red. The rest of that word will appear in gray to indicate the direction of the word. The clue for that word will appear above the puzzle. Tap the box again to change word direction from horizontal to vertical (or back). Type in letters to fill in the word.
- Open... - Open a .puz file.
- Open Recent > - Show a list of the last five .puz files opened. This allows you to quickly (re)open recent puzzles.
- Save As... - Save the current puzzle to a new file. Note that the state of the current puzzle gets saved automatically when you exit the program.
- Close - Close the current puzzle file.
- Delete - Permanently delete the current .puz file from disk. This allows you to easily delete puzzles that you have already solved.
- Quit - Exit the xword application.
- Check > - Check the current item for correctness. If the item is correct, you will be shown a pop-up window saying "No mistakes found". Otherwise, you will be shown a pop-up window saying "Incorrect" and the incorrect squares will be marked with a big "X" through them. When you correct the letters, a small black triangle will be shown in the corner to keep track of the letters you needed help with.
- Letter - Check the current letter for correctness.
- Word - Check the current word for correctness.
- Puzzle - Perform "Check Letter" on all currently filled-in squares. Thus, you can check a partially completed puzzle.
- Solve > - Fill in the correct letters for the current item. The letters that get filled in by the application will be marked with a small red triangle in the corner to keep track of the letters you needed help with.
- Letter - Fill in the correct letter for the current letter.
- Word - Fill in the correct letters for the current word.
- Puzzle - Fill in all letters for the puzzle. Note that you will be asked to confirm this selection before the program shows you the solution.
- Clear > - Clear the letter(s) and any error marks for the current item. This allows you to "cheat" by removing all black and red triangles showing the letters you needed help with.
- Letter - Clear the current square.
- Word - Clear the current word.
- Puzzle - Completely clear the current puzzle and start from scratch. Note that you will be asked to confirm this selection before the program resets the puzzle.
- Properties... - Show the properties of the current puzzle. This includes the title, author, and copyright information.
- Notepad... - Read notes embedded in the puzzle, or make your own notes which will be saved along with the current puzzle state.
- Skip Filled - Toggle a checkmark for if you want to skip boxes where you have already filled in a letter. This can reduce the number of letters you have to type in.
- Minimum Box Size... - Bring up a dialog allowing you to set the minimum box size of each letter square. The default size is 20 which allows a 21x21 puzzle to fit full screen without scrollbars. You can set this value between 12 and 40 inclusive.
- Solution Buttons > - Set the location of the check/solve buttons. The default is "off". Alternatively, you can show them on any side of the screen. You are given buttons to conveniently "Check/Solve" a "Letter/Word", as well as a timer button.
- Onscreen Keyboard > - Set the location of the onscreen keyboard. The default is "off". Alternatively, you can show it on any side of the screen. The keyboard has the letters A-Z as well as some extra buttons to aid in cursor movement. There are also two "Check/Solve" buttons and a timer button. The "Check/Solve" buttons check/solve the current word when clicked. However, these buttons also support "tap-and-hold" which brings up a pop-up menu to check/solve the current letter, word, or puzzle.
- Word List Layout > - The "word list" is the list of horizontal and vertical clues. The default is to show only the puzzle. Alternatively, you can show the word list on the left, right, top, bottom, or some combination of these.
- About - Show information about the xword application.
For convenience, the hardware buttons on the NIT duplicate some of the functions on the on-screen keyboard. The table below shows the hardware buttons (with the equivalent key on a "standard" computer keyboard) and their functions.
|NIT button (Standard key)||Crossword function|
|Zoom - (F8)||Move cursor to previous word|
|Full screen (F6)||Toggle between windowed mode and full screen|
|Zoom + (F7)||Move cursor to next word|
|D-pad center button (Return)||Swap direction (horizontal <-> vertical)|
|D-pad up/down/left/right (Arrow keys)||Move 1 box in that direction, or swap direction|
|Escape/Go back (Esc)||Check current word for correctness|
The on-screen keyboard allows you to enter letters for those devices without a hardware keyboard. In addition to letters, there are some special buttons near the bottom as shown in the image below.
Note: The "Check Word" and "Solve Word" buttons also support "tap-and-hold". When you tap-hold these buttons, you get a pop-up menu which enables you to check/solve a letter, word, or puzzle.
So you want to solve crosswords on your home computer? Well, you could simply download Across Lite for your platform. Or you can use the same xword program that runs on your NIT on any computer that supports python, pyGTK, and subversion.
Follow the installation instructions appropriate for your platform for python, pyGTK, and subversion. Then download the latest xword code from the maemo garage using the following command.
svn checkout https://garage.maemo.org/svn/xword/trunk/
Change into the newly created "trunk/" directory and run the "xword" program you find there. For Windows, you may need to rename "xword" to "xword.py" to be able to run it by double-clicking.
The program maintains two special hidden files/directories in your home directory. The ".crossword.cfg" file maintains the configuration settings for the program. The ".crossword_puzzles" directory holds the current state for all .puz files you have opened in the past. If you ever have any problems starting the program or (re)opening a .puz file, you may need to delete these files/directories. To do so, open an xterm and type the following command.
rm -rf ~/.crossword.cfg ~/.crossword_puzzles/
Please report bugs to the xword on maemo team. Here are some known bugs.