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Frequently Asked Questions

Following are the various questions that we have been asked frequently with their respective answers following each question. In case you have any other question / clarification to seek, apart from what has been explained here in already, please do send your question (s) to bbhuria@hobbyshobby.com which will be duly attended to and answered and included in the FAQs for the benefit of all visitors, if required.

Q: What is hobbyshobby.com all about?

A: The basic objective of this site is to disseminate information involving text, graphics, games, puzzles and articles to the budding hobbyists in various areas of their interests. Hobbyshobby.com is the ultimate destination for all sorts of intellectual and knowledge-based hobbies. While it encompasses a gamut of common hobbies like art, craft, painting, caricature, music, movies, photography, coin and stamp collection, etc., a major thrust is given to the educational hobbies like Quizzes on all possible subjects of common interest, Crosswords on a wide gamut of themes and subjects, Sudoku puzzles divided into various categories like, Easy, medium, Very Easy and Hard, and Word Search puzzles again based on general knowledge. The basic idea is to make this site a learning forum while playing with fun as well as pun.

Q: What sort of quizzes are included and what is the frequency of new additions?

A: Till now, major thrust has been given to quizzes with matching questions and answers, because this is considered to be the best and the quickest way of learning without much of manual typing of the answers, Just joining of question and answer blocks by drag and drop does the trick. But there are as many as 12 other forms of quizzes which are going be included in the future quizzes in order to make the site a comprehensive destination for all sorts of quizzes for laymen, students and professionals alike.

Q:What safety measures do you suggest while using internet for online games and edutainment?

A: We suggest the following primary guidelines:

1. Never give out personal information like your name, address, phone number, the name of your school or even your email address.

2. Don't send pictures of yourself, your family, or your home to people you meet online.

3. Never write back to someone who has made you feel uncomfortable or scared. Just log off and tell your seniors or superiors.

4. Never meet anyone you get acquainted with on internet or have them visit you. Those you meet online may not be what they say they are.

5. Keep your passwords private. Don't even share with your friends.

6. Don't open unknown e-mail attachments - just delete them. They can contain harmful viruses.

7. Always check for viruses and spyware before installing any program or storing any thing on your computer.

Q:What is a crossword?

A: According to wikipedia, a crossword is a word puzzle that normally takes the form of a square or rectangular grid of white and shaded squares. The goal is to fill the white squares with letters, forming words or phrases, by solving clues which lead to the answers. In languages which are written left-to-right, the answer words and phrases are placed in the grid from left to right and from top to bottom. The shaded squares are used to separate the words or phrases.

Squares in which answers begin are usually numbered. The clues are then referred to by these numbers and a direction, for example, "4-Across" or "20-Down". At the end of the clue the total number of letters is sometimes given, depending on the style of puzzle and country of publication. Some crosswords will also indicate the number of words in a given answer.
Further and fuller details in this regard can be seen from the following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xword

It’s a game, a game of fun & knowledge; crossword helps not only test but also to improve one’s vocabulary. This game stimulates, diverts, entertains and teaches millions across the globe. It helps pass (not kill) the time during travel, leisure, cozy companionship or in loneliness. There is no bar on the number, age, sex or qualifications of participants in any round of the game. "Word Square" the predecessor of present day crossword had existed for over two millennia, though in a much simpler form. In many parts of the world (rather developed world), this game has been the most popular indoor activity.
Most newspapers of the advanced world publish these puzzles daily or weekly.

The basic structure of a crossword puzzle, as most of you already know, is a square of any convenient size, divided into smaller blocks or squares. Some of these blocks are shaded while others are blank, for example:

The clues to the above puzzle are given in the following fashion:
1. Not in specified place physically or mentally. (6)
4. A beloved person. (4)
6. Main thing you are thinking about. (4)
7. Systematic plan of action. (6)

1. Nations joining together to fight a common enemy. (6)
2. A place within a region identified relative to a center or reference location. (4)
3. Aquatic and land reptile having a bony shell and flipper-like limbs for swimming. (6)
5. Condition of being comfortable or relieved. (4) 

The clues in the above fashion help us fill the blank blocks in the surrounding larger square. Some clues may be very simple giving a direct meaning of the word, whereas others might be cryptic, i.e. describing the word in an unusual way. At the end of each clue, a number in brackets refers to the size of the word, i.e. the number of letters forming the word.
Based on the foregoing clues, the answers which come to the solvers mind are:

Across: 1 Absent, 4 Dear, 6 Idea, 7 Scheme.
Down: 1 Allies, 2 Side, 3 Turtle, 5 Ease.
Based on these answers, the solved puzzle will look like this:

Q: What is the generally used Crossword terminology / Vocabulary?

A: Acrostic: A puzzle where you fill a square grid with words reading the same down as across. Alphabetical jigsaw: A crossword with exactly 26 answers, each one starting with a different letter of the alphabet.Afrit's injunction: An art of Cryptic Clue writing: "You need not mean what you say, but you must say what you mean". Anagram: A word or phrase spelled by rearranging the letters of another word or phrase. Answer: Solution to a Clue. Bar: A thick line separating the Lights in a barred grid. Barred grid: A grid in which the Lights are separated by Bars. Block: A Cell in a Grid usually colored black or gray. Blocked grid: A Grid in which Lights in the same direction are separated by Blocks.Carte blanche: The British equivalent of a diagramless puzzle. Cell: A single square in a Grid, that can fit only one chracter. Charade: A game in which the answer is split into two or more parts indicated separately. Cheater: An extra block added to a fully checked grid to shorten answers without increasing the word count. Clue: A description or hint (not necessarily a definition) that the solver uses to find the answer. Compiler: A creator of a crossword puzzle. Container: A type of wordplay used in Cryptic Clues in which the answer is formed from one word contained inside another. Crossword: A puzzle in which words corresponding to numbered clues are to be found and written in to squares in the puzzle. Crosswordese: Words that are typcially found only in crossword puzzle answers. Cruciverbalism: Crossword study or general wordsmithism. Cryptic clue: Clue having a secret or hidden meaning. Definition: In a conventional crossword, the definition forms the whole Clue. Diagram: An alternative term for a crossword Grid. Diagramless: A crossword where only the dimensions of the grid are shown and the solver must work out where the lights occur. Enumeration: The number(s) that you see at the end of each clue indicating the length of the answer. Fully checked: A grid in which there are no unchecked cells. Gimmick: A device used in a Thematic Cryptic Crossword involving unconventional clue types. Grid: A rectangular arrangement of squares into which the crossword answers are entered. Hole: An unused square in a grid that is left empty rather than being shown as a block. Homophone: Two words are homophones if they are pronounced the same way. Isogram: A word or phrase in which each letter occurs the same number of times. Jumbo: A puzzle with a large grid and many more clues than usual. Light: A horizontal or vertical series of white squares in a grid, representing one answer. Palindrome: A word or phrase that reads the same backward as forward. Pangrammatic: A grid containing every letter of the alphabet at least once. Preamble: Explanatory text preceding the clues in a Thematic Cryptic Crossword. Pseudonym: The fictitious name of the Compiler of a crossword. Rubric: An alternative term for preamble. Setter: An alternative term for Compiler. Square: An alternative term for Cell. Surface reading: The superficial meanings of the words in a Cryptic Clue, when it is read as a normal sentence. Symmetry: Exact correspondence of design on opposite sides of a grid. Tautonym: Any word or phrase whose second half repeats the first; like bye-bye. Thematic: Crossword relating to or constituting a topic of discourse. (the crossword section of this website is primarily comprised of Thematic crossword puzzles). Theme: The overall subject matter reflected by the clues of a crossword. Unch: An unchecked letter. Word square: A square fully checked grid containing no blocks. Wordcross: That's how the crossword used to be called originally. Wordplay: The secondary means of getting the answer in a Cryptic Clue.

Q: Which are the popular crossword making and publishing software applications?

A: There are a number of softwares available for designing, making and publishing of crossword and allied puzzles. Some of the best of those are described below:

Crossword Compiler
Sophisticated crossword construction software by Antony Lewis, with a host of powerful features for creating and publishing crosswords. The software of choice for many professionals.

Across Lite
A program for solving crossword puzzles online or offline in Across Lite format (puzzles available from many sources) from Literate Software Systems.

Arensus Crossword Puzzle Editor
Create and edit your own crossword puzzles with this software. Import Across Lite puz-files. Keep your own clue-databases and use them as electronic dictionaries with powerfull search functions. Puzzles can be exported as web-pages and published as interactive online-games with the Crossword Puzzle Java Applet. Runs on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

Crossdown for Windows
An excellent application for solvers and constructors alike. Crossdown supports both American and British-style puzzles. Scrollable clue list. Sound card support with optional speaking messages. Extensive on-line help. Construct your own puzzles just like the professional ones. Hot-link your favorite digital dictionary to run from within Crossdown. Print out in a variety of formats! Export to all major desktop publishing applications.

Crossword Construction Kit
Features the unique ability to make puzzles in fun shapes with over 50 predefined puzzle shapes (diamonds, doughnuts, trains, etc) with the ability to create unlimited new shapes. Up to 30 x 30 in size. Print options include skeleton or filled box, answer key, font selection, metafiles & more.

Crossworders' Dictionary And Gazetteer
This six thousand (6000) page digital dictionary/gazetteer supplements all other paper crossword dictionaries and is by far the largest and most complete work of its kind. It is the heavyweight of crossword references, a crossword puzzle dictionary on steroids. The dictionary is over five thousand (5000) pages long and the gazetteer content is over one thousand (1000) pages. The software allows for extensive easy searching and browsing, including specialized gazetteer (geography) sub-searches to find rivers, cities, language, coin, measure, VIPs and much more. The total work contains over one hundred and eight thousand (108,000) individual look-up words with over one million total words including look-up word definitions (clues) and supporting information, all cross referenced.

Crossword Express
Using Crossword Express software you can make your own crossword puzzles from your own word lists and dictionaries. The program also includes a comprehensive set of SOLVE features so that you can enjoy solving the puzzles you have made.

Crossword Maestro
An extremely sophisticated expert system from Genius 2000 for solving cryptic and non-cryptic crosswords. It solves clues completely automatically and explains in plain English how they work! Individual clues can be submitted to the software or it can even tackle whole crosswords: It is capable of inking in three quarters of the solutions to a difficult cryptic such as The London Times completely automatically. It is also a game where you can pit your wits against the computer in solving crosswords.

Crossword Solver
The Crossword Solver program is free software that lets you solve crossword puzzles, word searches, sudokus and coded puzzles offline. It can open files used by the popular Crossword Compiler online applet, XML puzzle files, and also ".puz" files. You can enter tentative solutions, check your answers, save your current progress, and print out for solving offline.

Tea & Sympathy
Software for crossword solvers and setters by Ross Beresford. Sympathy is a crossword grid construction program with support for US style, blocked and barred grid puzzles. The Electronic Alveary (TEA) allows you to search lists of words for those that match a particular pattern; it is ideal for solving and compiling crosswords, and other word games.

XWord Studio
XWord Studio is a comprehensive crossword design and production tool for the Mac. You can create crosswords from scratch, or quickly recreate them for inclusion in publications. Features include: Normal filled or "plain" grids; Copy or save grids in PICT format (vector, not bitmapped); Automatic symmetrical filling, numbering, and text entry; Produces a special clues template window so that you can type in your clues easily; Fills typical 15 X 15 grid with words in seconds; Accurate and adjustable placement of characters in grid.

Q:What is the brief historical background of Crossword Puzzles?

A:A crossword puzzle consists of a diagram, usually rectangular, divided into blank (white) and cancelled (black/shaded) squares. This diagram is accompanied by two lists of numbered definitions or clues, one for the horizontal (across) and the other for the vertical (down) words, the numbers corresponding to identical numbers on the diagram. Into each of the blank squares of the diagram a certain letter of the alphabet is to be inserted, forming the words fitting the numbered definitions or clues. The words cross each other, or interlock, which gives the puzzle its name. In early days of the the twentieth century, the Crossword used to be known as either "Word Cross" or in certain regions as "Word Square".

The first crosswords were seen in England during the 19th century. They were of an elementary kind apparently derived from the word square, a group of words arranged so the letters read alike vertically and horizontally, and printed in children's puzzle books and various periodicals.

In the United States, however, the puzzle developed into a serious adult pastime. The first modern crossword puzzle was published during 1913 in the New York World's Sunday supplement, Fun. It appeared as only one of a varied group of mental exercises, but it struck the fancy of the public. By 1923, crosswords were being published in most of the leading American newspapers, and the craze soon crossed the borders of USA towards Europe, particularly England. Soon almost all daily newspapers in the United States and Great Britain used to have a crossword of some or the other kind.

In the year 1913, the first known modern crossword was published in United States and it was a great success and, consequently, it became a weekly feature. The name "Word Cross" eventually evolved into the presently recognized name "Crossword". Gradually, the craze of the people for this medium of edutainment went on increasing. And, as a result of this, the publishers were motivated to publish the Crossword puzzles in the form of books or booklets giving the collection of puzzles hitherto printed in the daily or weekly magazines. Such books met with unexpected successes.

Today, it is hard to find a newspaper or a magazine, in any country of the world, that doesn't publish one or more of the different forms of crossword puzzles, whether daily or on a periodical basis. Of course, along with the standard crossword puzzle, you can also find the various other forms of the word games.

Britain, on the other hand, gave birth to and popularized cryptic crossword puzzles. To solve a cryptic puzzle, you have to evolve the clue itself as well as the definition, based on indirect hints given. 

In countries of Asia, somehow, albeit unfortunately, the craze for crossword puzzles as a medium of entertainment-cum-education has picked up only recently. But that has so far been confined to upper middle or higher classes. The common man is still disillusioned by the kind of crossword puzzles, offered to him in the conventional newspapers and magazines, which are based on the higher end and rather based on too classical literature of the west, which he never had the opportunity to read. Thus the black letters in the crossword puzzles appeared to him just as complex as the buffalo.

Consequently, in the developing countries, the crossword puzzles had been viewed as something belonging to the western upper classes. A boring game, was the general impression of a common man in any developing country. As a result, there was no room for accepting the crossword puzzle as a means of either entertainment or education in such countries/classes.

Hence a need has been felt to provide an avenue for the crossword puzzles based on day to day themes, with a view to providing him with a seat of learning while playing rather than grappling with highly classical and cryptic solutions.

References: http://www.crosswordtournament.com/more/wynne.html

Q:What are the anagrams and their varieties?

A: An anagram is the rearrangement of the letters of a word, name, phrase, sentence, title, or the like into another word or phrase. ALL the letters of the name or phrase must be used ONCE and only ONCE. This is the basic rule of anagramming. The best anagrams are meaningful and relate in some way to the original subject. They can be apposite, funny, rude, satirical or flattering.

AMBIGRAM: An ambigram is an art form that may be read as one or more words not only in its form as presented, but also from another viewpoint, direction, or orientation. The words readable in the other viewpoint, direction or orientation may be the same or different from the original words.
ANIGRAM or ANIMAGRAM: Anagram showing the letters of a word or phrase moving as they rearrange to form an anagram.
ANTIGRAM: An anagram which is antonymous of the original phrase, such as Mother-in-law = Woman Hitler
PANGRAM: These are anagrams of the alphabet, e.g. abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz.
SYNANAGRAM: Single words that are anagrams of other single words, Tread = Rated
TRIANAGRAM: Also called triplets, these are three-way anagrams such as Admires = Sidearm = Misread.

Some of the interesting sentences that include the phrases as also their anagrams can be experienced at this link.

Q: Could you explain as to what are crossword puzzles based on partial words derived from other words or phrases?

A:Attached herewith is an example of small daily crosswords based on partial words derived from the name of the personality or event of the particular date (given example is based on April 30 and D.G. PHALKE is the personality of the day – 142nd birth anniversary). All the answer words of the given crossword puzzle are the partial words derived from the spellings of D.G. PHALKE, the personality of the day. Moreover, some of the letters in the puzzle have been made visible to make things easier and quicker for the solver. Such crosswords could further be enhanced by displaying the picture of the personality within the crossword square, but that would make the crossword much larger. Many examples of such crossword puzzles could be viewed and played from the DATE-SPECIFIC sub-menu under CROSSWORD menu.

Q: [FAQ Question]
A: [FAQ Answer]


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