Crucible is a crossword creation program, designed to be the last word in this type of software. Other programs do what Crucible can do, but no single program does everything in one place.
The last feature is what really sets Crucible apart from its rivals. Some programs allow you to export to a DTP program and work on it there, or else give you a few limited print options. Crucible gives you the tools right there. You can also create layout templates and simply apply the template when printing the puzzle. Exports to PDF.
The built-in word finder is also worth a special mention. It instantly looks up words that can fit the grid, and any anagrams of that word. It is so fast that you can set it to work interactively with you as you move around the grid. The program comes with a list of about half a million words, and you can add your own.
Note that Crucible isn't primarily a client program - while it can download puzzles from any available online source, it doesn't have a "solve" mode. Instead you can print out the puzzle using the layout feature and solve it on paper, if you wish. However, if you want to create crosswords quickly and professionally, this is the program for you.
Crucible is shareware. It is not crippled in any way - if you feel it's worth something to you, you ought to pay something, but that's entirely down to your own sense of honour.
© 2006-2008 Graham Cox