Sunday, June 04, 2006

Handy Dandy Guide
To Creating
Crossword Puzzles
For Your Palm Handheld

For Teachers with Loads of Extra Time and Technology Funds

By Dale Ehrhart


Puzzle Converter


AcrossLite (Freeware)found at:

BeCrossword ($7.00 /License) found at:

There are three basic steps to creating a crossword puzzle for your Palm OS Handheld, and here they are:

Step 1. Go to the Ed Helper website, generate your crossword puzzle, and print it out. This step assists the creation of a crossword puzzle in AcrossLite.

Step 2. Create your crossword puzzle using the AcrossLite program on your PC or Laptop.

Step 3. Place BeCrossword palm application on your handheld, convert to .PUZ file to PDB file, Sync to your handheld, and enjoy.

Unfortunately, as with many other things in life, the steps can be complicated and time consuming. So here are the steps in (a little bit more) detail.

Step 1

Go to the Ed Helper website, follow their directions, and print out the results. This step can be skipped if you enjoy showing off your mental superiority by generating your own crosswords puzzles (I know of no-one who likes to do this). This step, as you shall see later, acts as an aid when you create the crossword puzzle using the AcrossLite computer program. This step is fairly easy and takes about 20-25 minutes to complete. NOTE: Make sure the gridsize you specify is big enough or your puzzle wont be generated. Additionally the puzzle generator has a habit of not including all your words. this is not a big deal, you won’t have to re-enter everything if this happens just push your browser’s back button, make the grid size bigger, and try again.

Step 2

This is the painful, difficult, and time-consuming step. Just grit your teeth, remind yourself that your students are awesome, and flounder on.

Step 2.a-Download and Open the AcrossLite Program

Step 2.b-Click HELP, then click CONTENTS, then highlight HOW TO and click OPEN. You will then highlight the option Create an Across Puzzle and click DISPLAY. The directions given by AcrossLite are very good so I’ll resist the temptation to reinvent the wheel. Here are the directions from AcrossLite:

To create a crossword puzzle that you can distribute as an Across puzzle, you must

1. Write the puzzle in a text file using a text editor (such as Windows Notepad) or a word-processor that can save the file as a text file. The puzzle must be written in a specific syntax (or format). Click here for the format and an example. You must name the text file with the extension .TXT.

2. Open the puzzle in Across Lite. In the file open dialog box that comes up when you select Open command in the File menu, select Across TEXT format in the file types list to display all files with extension .TXT. Select the file you created in Step 1 and click on OK. If there are no errors in the puzzle description, the puzzle will be read in.

3. Save the puzzle using the Save command in the File menu. The puzzle will be saved as an Across puzzle.

Copyright © 1995-97 Literate Software Systems

On the following page is an empty AcrossLite template. If you’re reading this from a computer you can copy the following and insert it into notepad.









Same notepad entry
This notepad has two lines of text                                                 

The following is an example of the completed AcrossLite format. This is where the crossword puzzle generated from EdHelper comes in handy in handy when determining your grid, size and shape of the puzzle.

Note where the indents begin, it’s a 5 space indent. If you follow the above exactly there won’t be any problems. Note under that 11 corresponds with the across dimensions and the 10 corresponds with the down dimensions.You don’t have to have an 11X10 grid that just happens to be the case for this particular puzzle. Under periods are used to denote spaces that have no letters.

Save as a .txt file and reopen the AcrossLite program.

Step 2.e-Now it’s a simple matter of converting the .txt file to a .puz file by following the directions from AcrossLite. If I’m going to send the puzzle file to a handheld I save it to the Computer Desktop since it’s easier to find.

Step 3

Finally, this step puts the crossword puzzle on your handheld. To do this the .puz file will need to be converted to a .pdb file. The online puzzle converter found at does this for you. Open the Puzzle converter, BROWSE for your crossword puzzle using the file that ends in .puz, click CONVERT, and the .pdb is placed into the Palm Quick Install ready to be hotsynced to your handheld. If you haven’t already done so you will also need to put the BeCrossword application on your handheld.

Here is a picture as seen on the handheld.

Have a Great Day

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