The UK Advanced Cryptics Dictionary

A word list for crossword solvers and setters


Ross Beresford

Version 1.7

23 August 2000

Copyright (c) J Ross Beresford 1993-2000

All Rights Reserved

The UK Advanced Cryptics Dictionary
is a FREEWARE package: it can be
freely copied and distributed under
the terms of the licensing agreement
at the end of this document.

The author can be reached in the following ways:

Internet address

Postal address

   10 Wagtail Close
   Reading RG10 9ED
   United Kingdom


The UKACD is a word list compiled for the crossword community.

In particular, it's intended for setters and solvers of advanced cryptic crosswords in the UK; for example, the Listener Crossword and the barred puzzles in the Sunday broadsheets.

Although there are many word lists in the public domain, none is well suited for use with crossword construction and word search software.

This freely distributable list should be more helpful, as it is specifically intended for use with crossword software. The list will be updated at periodic intervals to correct errors and make additions.

The UKACD is in the ISO 8859-1 character set (compatible with the Windows ANSI character set), with a single entry per line.


The original basis for the UKACD was a word list of some 500,000 entries, compiled from public domain sources.

This was reduced to a list of around 190,000 words by eliminating entries that aren't generally allowable in UK advanced cryptic puzzles.

The list continues to be improved as missing entries are discovered and added. A new update is issued when several thousand entries have been added since the previous one.

The vocabulary included in the following single volume UK English dictionaries is used as a guide to acceptability:

   The Chambers Dictionary
   Collins English Dictionary
   The Concise Oxford Dictionary

Words are given in all their inflected forms, where appropriate. That is, nouns are given in their plural form(s); verbs are given as the infinitive, third person singular, present and past participle; and the comparative and superlative forms of adjectives are included where they are reasonably common.

Common proper names are included, as they are often found in crosswords, even though only Collins of the above dictionaries has a systematic coverage of them. Some very common words not to be found in any of the dictionaries are also included.

To make the list more useful for compiling jumbo grids, longer non-dictionary entries are being added. These include: well-known quotations and proverbs; fictional characters and book titles; films, pieces of music and works of art.

Some attempt is made to standardise the punctuation and capitalisation of entries; in particular, by ensuring all proper names start with a capital letter. However, no great effort is put into this, as it only marginally affects the usefulness of the list to crossworders.

Dictionary entries only differing in punctuation, accenting or capitalisation are folded onto the single most common form. This is done to save space and, again makes little difference to the value of the UKACD to setters and solvers.


If you find any errors, or have suggestions for additions, please e-mail or post them to me at the address on the first page of this document. Provided they are within the scope of the UKACD, as defined under EDITORIAL POLICY, they will be included in the next release of the word list.


Copyright© J Ross Beresford 1993-2000. All Rights Reserved.

The following restriction is placed on the use of this publication: if The UK Advanced Cryptics Dictionary is used in a software package or redistributed in any form, the copyright notice must be prominently displayed and the text of this document must be included verbatim.

There are no other restrictions: I would like to see the list distributed as widely as possible.

solving/wordlists/about/ukacd_readme.txt · Last modified: 2006/12/12 03:42 (external edit)
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