A codeword is a completed crossword but with the letters represented by numbers. The object of the game is to work out which number corresponds to which letter and hence to reveal the finished crossword. It's a challenging pattern recognition game and test of word power (and sometimes, spelling).


Please refer to the screenshot. The program has randomly assigned the numbers 1-26 to the letters A-Z. The screenshot shows a crossword grid in which, apart from three starting letters, only the numbers are shown. Using the mouse players assign letters to numbers and the program fills in the corresponding boxes in the grid. If they get it right, eventually the crossword will be complete. If players make mistakes they can change assignments and the program will update the grid accordingly. A small number of letter to number assignments are given to help players get started.

codeword example

codeword example

A screenshot from codeword showing a newly started game. At the top of the window is a Toolbar, a box containing the puzzle number and a clock. Below this are two rows of squares containing the numbers 1-26. Below this is a row of smaller squares containing the letters A-Z. Below this is the crossword grid. To serve as clues three numbers have had their letter assignments (C,F,G) revealed. As the mouse cursor passes over squares in the top two rows it lights up in green the corresponding squares in the crossword grid. Here the cursor is currently on the square for number 7 and their pattern is revealed. It looks like 7 may be assigned to the letter E. Click to see an animation showing this puzzle being solved (though the sharp-eyed will notice that the letter-number assignments are different). The delay between images is 2 seconds.


At the start of each game the program randomly chooses a crossword from its collection of 3000 puzzles and then randomly assigns the numbers 1-26 to the letters A-Z. The numbers assigned to each letter are displayed at the top left of each square in the crossword. By default, three of the letters are also exposed as clues to help get players started. Their task is to work out all the other assignments and hence solve the puzzle. The two top rows of the board list the numbers from 1 to 26, and the row below the letters A to Z. By responding to the mouse these three rows provide interaction with the program. The crossword grid itself is not an input device and will not respond to the mouse. To assign a letter to a number players left click on the letter in the letters row, then left click on the number in the numbers row (this also works in the reverse order). If players think they've made mistakes they can undo assignments by right clicking on the letter in either row. At the very top of the display is a Toolbar. The jigsaw piece button at the left is a menu which allows players to set the number of initial clues. Next to the menu is an icon which is used for selecting a random puzzle from the program's 3000 built-in puzzles; a wand to request an extra clue; a thumb to check and correct errors, and a sad smiley to show the solution. The puzzle number and a clock are displayed to their right. To select a particular puzzle the player can enter its number into the puzzle number box and hit Enter. If the number is accepted (0-2999) the corresponding puzzle will be loaded.

Using Hints

Clicking on the wand simply adds the next rarest letter to the grid.

Checking for Errors

Clicking on the hand button causes the program to check the puzzle for errors. If errors are detected the hand will flip to the thumbs down position and the incorrectly assigned letters will be highlighted in yellow. A further click on the hand will correct the errors.