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A Fill-In is a Crossword variant in which, rather than providing a list of clues assigned to particular rows and columns of the grid, solvers are given a list of all entries and must logically place them in a way that allows all of them to fit.
Background[edit | edit source]
Puzzle Application[edit | edit source]
Traditionally, Fill-In puzzles provide a normal crossword grid (minus numbers) and a list of words, often sorted alphabetically, by length, or both. The goal is therefore to find a way to fit all of the answers into the grid so that no clashes occur. This process is primarily a logical one, leading some to categorize Fill-Ins as a Logic puzzle rather than a word one. Regardless, the word list replaces a normal crossword's clues, but otherwise the grid used could be of any type, including the primary blocked/barred styles, or more esoteric grid shapes like circles or hexagons. A side effect of the lack of clues is also a lack of major difficulty. Removing the numeric placement of the clues does add a level of difficulty that is then counteracted by the removal of the clues.
A benefit to the Fill-In's clue-less format is the accessibility it offers. As it does not require its solver to understand the meaning of the words in the grid, nor solve any clues, it allows for people with no fluency in the printed language to complete it. In this sense, it also allows for easier transfer to languages with accented letters or non-latin alphabets, as long as the individual symbols making up words are consistent across various entries.
Despite the commonness of word lists in non-hunt Fill-Ins, it's much more likely for a Fill-In in a puzzle hunt to actually include clues, but keep the 'logical placement' aspect. By doing this, the setter actually increases the difficulty compared to normal crosswords, as they've kept the challenge of solving clues while removing the surefire method of crosschecking one's answers.
Strategy[edit | edit source]
Notable Examples[edit | edit source]
- Pen Rose (MITMH 2006) (web) - In this puzzle, solvers are presented with an unnumbered clue list and an irregular grid made up of various rhombuses. Not only do solvers have to figure out placement of the words, they also need to figure out how words are entered in a grid that doesn't contain any clear 'straight' paths.