Following are the most commonly asked questions about the innermost workings of Crossword Express. If you ask a question which has not been covered in these FAQs, then a new FAQ will be added, and you will be referred to it by return email.

Normally it is only Windows users who report this problem, and it is caused by an inappropriate setting in the Folder Options item of the Control Panel. To correct this, select the View tab in Folder Options and make sure that the Hide extensions for known file types check-box is not checked. This will allow the full name of CrosswordExpress.jar to be displayed. You will then find that the file is present and correct.

The executable file of Crossword Express is CrosswordExpress.jar Such files (having a .jar extension) will run on any computer which has a Java Runtime Environment (JRE) installed. If it fails to run on your computer, it simply means that a your computer has not yet been equipped with a JRE. This is easily remedied:-
  • For Windows.
    Select Start / Control Panel / Java / Update.
    Clicking the Update Now button will either tell you that you have the correct version already installed, or it will automatically install the correct version.

    Further information is available at 

  • For iMAc.
    Select Settings / Java / Update
    The resulting dialog will tell you the version of Java you have installed. If this is not the recommended version, an Update button will appear, and you can use this to download the correct version.

    Further information is available at 

This is a relatively common problem on Windows computers. It is caused by the association between .jar files and the program which runs them having been hijacked by some other misbehaving program. There are several free software tools available which will heal this problem, and one which has been found effective can be downloaded from 

A Codeword puzzle is just another Crossword puzzle, but printed in a different way. If you look at the Build Crossword screen of Crossword Express you will see that the Print item of the menu bar includes choices for Codeword puzzles as well as several other variants. If you choose any of these variants, you will get a Print screen where you can complete the printing operation. Please refer to the Help on the Print screen with particular reference to Print Layouts. While you are at it, look at the Solve item of the Build Crossword screen menu bar. It gives you access to functions which allow you to solve puzzles interactively within the program.

In Crossword Express, the list of words you refer to is called a dictionary. The Dictionary Maintenance function available from the opening menu provides a comprehensive set of tools for creating new dictionaries, and populating those dictionaries with words and clues. The Help item on the Maintain Dictionary screen provides a wealth of information on the subject. In particular note the differences between Standard and Theme dictionaries. To build a theme puzzle, take the Standard Crossword option from the program menu, and select Build. Initially, you should Use the Construction Wizard. When you get to the Build Options dialog you will see that it contains a number of references to theme puzzles. Click the Help button for the full story.

This problem happens with some web servers when the Web-App attempts to download the .crossword puzzle file that it needs to complete its initialization. Under normal circumstances, there is only a limited number of file types which can be guaranteed to be down-loadable from all web servers, and unfortunately .crossword is not one of them. On the other hand some web servers are more forgiving in this regard, and work quite happily. As things stand at the moment, if you are caught by this problem, you will need to contact your server administrator and request that a configuration change be made. The required change will be quite clear to the administrator if you pass on the following quote from a server administrator who was the first to encounter and fix this problem:-

"I have gone ahead and added a mimetype for .crossword to be an application/octet-stream. This simply allows it to download."

The answer to this question will depend on whether you are running the program on a Windows or Macintosh computer.
  • Macintosh: Simply use the Tasks/Print option on any Print screen. The Printer interface will present you with a Dialog which contains a number of controls including a PDF drop-down menu. The Save as PDF... option will allow you to save the PDF file in any desired location on your computer.
  • Windows:The recommended method is to install the Primo PDF program on your computer. You can download this program free from a number of download sites ... just Google PrimoPDF and choose a suitable link. When installed, it operates as a virtual printer, but instead of sending a puzzle to a printer, it sends it to a PDF file which you can locate anywhere on your computer's hard drive.

None whatever!
The program can be installed on any, or all computers at your school. All teachers and all students may use the program, and if they wish, they can install it on their own personal computers both at school and at home.

You may use the program without limit and for any purpose which is not immoral or illegal. However I would like a byline to appear with any material generated by the program when it is published. The web address included with each puzzle would do just fine. Please remember that I get no financial reward for making this program available. My only compensation is the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes with knowing that at least a few people are using it, and appreciating the 25 years of work that have gone into its creation.