Man beats computer at crossword puzzles

March 19, 2012 at 1:28 AM
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NEW YORK, March 19 (UPI) -- Dr. Fill, a computer program designed to work crossword puzzles, came in 141st among 600 human puzzle solvers in New York City this weekend.

Matthew Ginsberg, who designed Dr. Fill, had expected his software puzzle solver would finish in the Top 50 -- better if he was lucky and worse if he was not -- at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, The New York Times reported.

"It was within the range, but I wish it had done better," Ginsberg said Sunday. "I'll be back next year."

Dr. Fill does well with conventional crosswords and finished the difficult seventh and final puzzle without a hitch. But Dr. Fill, which has problems dealing with humor or unusual themes, struggled with earlier ones, including one in which words had to be spelled backward.

"Two of the puzzles were bizarre in ways that were bad for it," Ginsberg told the Times.

The winner of the event -- for the third year in a row -- was Dan Feyer.

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