Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer 2012 Study Launch

We are pleased to announce the launch of our Summer 2012 crossword study! Detailed instructions are available at: http://www.tech.mtu.edu/~shanem/xword

The goal of the study is to understand the visual, memory, and decision making components of crossword expertise.  We are interested in participants across the range of skill; both experts and novices. You may have been contacted directly or may have found out about the study some other way.  Everybody is welcome to participate (currently windows only).  The whole study takes less than an hour (a lot less if you are a good crossword player), and it does not have to be done all at the same time.

It involves downloading and running a piece of software that will let test your crossword puzzle ability as well as some related simple tasks.  Your data gets automatically sent back to our servers so we can record your performance.

The software includes a 'word stem completion' trainer that you can use to improve your ability to recognize what letter patterns form words.

Please post any questions or support requests at this blog posting.



  1. The crossword piece of the study opens the two-minute practice just fine, but I can't figure out how to get to the actual 25-minute puzzle that's supposed to follow.

  2. Confirmed here, thre is no way to access anything beyond the practice puzzle.

  3. Guys,
    Thanks for asking here. There seems to be a buggy issue here that stems from me not following the instructions of my graduate student. I've uploaded a new version of the test that should fix the problem, but if you are already partway done the solution is to go to the file|open menu within the crossword player, then select the file easier.puz (It will be in the listing of 100+ files so it won't be easy to find), and then work that puzzle. When complete, you can hit the 'submit' button.

    Thanks for your patience.
    Shane Mueller

  4. (Thought I'd posted this earlier, but it seems not to have taken)

    If you're interested in measuring crossword performance, your puzzle software is badly flawed. No puzzle solver is restricted to seeing only one clue at a time. The ability to scan the clues, looking for one you know that will serve as an entry point, is a crucial part of the process, as is the ability to quickly and easily jump from one section of the grid to another. Whatever you're measuring here, it has very little to do with solving crosswords.