Cryptic Crossword Clue Interpreter

M. Hart, RH Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The paper considers the amenability of the cryptic crossword to automatic solving by computer. It is proposed that there are three stages involved in the solution of a cryptic clue: cataloguing of semantics, cataloguing of syntax, and actual solution. The solution stage can be further divided into four stages: keyword identification, syntax identification, clue manipulation, and solution checking. The study extends previous work in this area, which has already achieved the syntactic and semantic stages of solution, as well as the first (keyword identification) stage of solution. In an attempt to achieve the second stage of solution (syntactic identification), a program (PICCUP) is developed to parse and interpret cryptic clues. This it does with partial success, through use of a simplified cryptic crossword grammar. © 1992.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-27
Number of pages12
JournalInformation and Software Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1992


  • crossword compilation
  • programming languages
  • semantics


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