Crossword Solver with CentOS
If you enjoy crossword puzzles but sometimes get stuck on a devious one, here's a fun use of the CentOS words package.
If you don't already have a CentOS image running, the following will get you and running quickly. Make sure Docker is installed, then run the following commands in a terminal:
docker pull centos:7 docker run --name mycentos -d centos:7 tail -f /dev/null docker exec -it mycentos bash
If you exit out of the container and want to come back, run the following to restart it and get back in:
docker start mycentos docker exec -it mycentos bash
Now, in a bash shell in the container, install the package:
yum install words # dictionary file is now in /usr/share/dict/words
You can use the grep command with regex to search the dictionary files, for example, to find all words ending in "ion":
grep -E 'ion$' /usr/share/dict/words # abacination # abaction # abalation # ...
Now here's how it can be used to help with crossword puzzles, suppose you've gotten this far, and stuck on number 8 down "Wind instrument":
Few hints we have is that it's a four letter word, starting with an unknown character, followed by "BO", followed by one more unknown character. All that's needed is to construct a regex to express this, then search the words dictionary:
grep -iE '^.BO.$' /usr/share/dict/words # abos # abow # abox # Eboe # eboe # Eboh # ebon # Ibos # Oboe # oboe # obol # RBOC # RBOR
Aha, "oboe" is the answer!
To test this out, try free online crossword puzzles at https://www.boatloadpuzzles.com/playcrossword.
Of course, try to solve as much of the puzzle without help but when you get stuck, the words package can come to the rescue. Enjoy!