Making crossword puzzles isn't easy, and Sympathy Crossword Construction isn't going to dumb it down for you. What it will do is provide you with plenty of options to create crosswords in a variety of styles.
The interface isn't bad, but it will probably require a visit to the built-in Help file to figure out, especially for first-time puzzle makers. A lot of the buttons will be unfamiliar simply because they're unique to puzzle creation, but mouse-over descriptions help. The program has a lot of different functions, which makes navigation a bit confusing, but on the whole it's well-organized and it shouldn't be too difficult for users to get used to with a bit of practice. After a quick visit to the Help file, we found it easy to create a puzzle, letting the program do the work of filling in most of the answers. We then amused ourselves by creating clues, making them up as we went along, although the program provides a couple of tools to help with this task. The clue database contains previously created clues (meaning there's nothing in it to start with), and the wordplay wizard helps users create anagrams and other more complex clues. The program provides multiple ways to view content and access features, meaning that with experience, users can tailor their use of the program to fit their needs.
Sympathy Crossword Construction has no time limitation on its trial, but the trial version prevents users from saving, printing, or exporting their puzzles. The program installs and uninstalls without issues. We recommend this program to any user who's serious about learning to create crosswords.
Sympathy helps you create professional quality crosswords for publication in print form or on the web. It has a wealth of construction and filling features to aid the compiler. Its flexibility in grid drawing and puzzle layout will appeal to crossword publishers. Sympathy supports US style fully checked, diagramless, blocked, Italian style and barred grid puzzles. Start the crossword based on a stock grid or create a bespoke grid. Use dictionaries to fill the grid using any of four different techniques. Use clue databases to create complete crosswords and examine or reuse previously written clues. Check the construction and fill quality using the statistics. Look up words in the integrated dictionary and thesaurus or on the web. Enter the clues and their explanations, using the Wordplay Wizard for help with cryptic clues. Print complete puzzles directly or export them in a variety of formats for publication. Create HTML for the crossword, with the grid in HTML or bitmap formats such as JPEG and PNG.
What's new in this version:
Version 3.4 added feature for exporting and importing files in the ipuz open standard format.