Monday, June 16, 2014

Web App to Solve The Hindu Crossword Online

If the lack of an online solving platform for The Hindu Crossword has been your lament, it is now time to rejoice.

Venkatraman Narayanan, a PhD student in Robotics at CMU and a Hindu crossword enthusiast, has developed an application that lets you solve the daily Hindu Crossword interactively. The application is available at The site requires no registration/login, is clutter-free and intuitive to use. The home page takes you to the latest puzzle; arrow buttons on the page can be used to navigate to past puzzles.


For those interested in the technical nitty-gritties of how the app works: the backend is in Python, which downloads and parses the crossword grid and clues from The Hindu website. This is done using image processing on the grid, and regular expressions for parsing the clues from the HTML source code. The front-end is built upon Jesse Weisback's open-source crossword UI, with a few new features and design changes. Finally, the entire thing is wrapped into a Google app which is automatically updated everyday when a new crossword becomes available at The Hindu website.

The complete app took Venkatraman Narayanan about 10 days to create from scratch. "It initially started off as a hack to help few of my friends and me to solve the crossword online, but I then realized I could polish it and make it useful for THC enthusiasts around the globe", he says.

The app is currently in beta stage, with features like "Save Grid", which saves the solved crossword to disk, in progress. At the time of writing this, the app works for crosswords 1st July 2011 onwards. Development is on to make older crosswords accessible too. Try the app and if you have feedback/suggestions, write to the author

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