A Computer Program for a 3D Crossword Blind Solver
This is a working document
Towards a Specification
The £1000 IT Challenge is to produce a FREEWARE computer program to enable a totally blind crossword solver to tackle a 3D crossword puzzle at no cost.
The 3D crosswords in question are those presented for free download at
There will be media interest in a successful project (see background). This is an opportunity to showcase problem solving and programming skills.
BBC Radio 4 In Touch 30.09.2008 featured an item on the 3D crosswords. Presenter, Peter White, asked the natural question of whether a blind person could access them.
The problem was partly solved by finding the wonderful Ian Humphreys in Albany, Western Australia and working with him as program consultant to produce the BG Crossword Puzzle program which gives a totally blind (and partially deaf) crossword solver full access to tackling conventional flat, 2D crosswords. The program is free to download at Spoonbill Software: http://www.omninet.net.au/~irhumph/blindgamers.htm
BBC Radio 4 In Touch 9.11.2010 ran an item on this first, free electronic access for blind crossword solvers
Ian’s program is brilliant. You can do puzzles with your eyes closed!
Our 3D crosswords are freely available to all. All we ask is that solvers consider doing something extra for a person or group of people in need. Our past and future puzzles will be made available to the new computer program that we hope will be produced by this competition.
Some factors to consider:
The new program could operate on a PC or iphone on its own. The program could be web-based.
3D Crosswords come in different forms and sizes. Will the program be able to adapt to these differences?
Can the program be used by sighted solvers as well as blind? Does there need to be a visible 3D crossword grid?
How will the blind solver communicate with the program?
Will the program allow wrong answers to be entered?
How comfortable is the program to use?
How easy is it to learn how to use it?
You will identify many other issues!
The deadline for the competition is the end of the current year at midnight on December 31st 2012.
Judging by an expert panel will take place in January 2013 when selected entrants will have the opportunity of presenting/demonstrating their software. The panel will include an IT expert to evaluate programming; a 3D crossword expert; registered blind crossword solvers.
The prize money is held by solicitors Thrings LLP of Swindon.
Should you require further information, there will be a new webpage at www.calendarpuzzles.co.uk Alternatively I would be delighted to discuss this.
PO Box 4823