Teaching ESL
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crossword maker problems
http://mes-english.com:443/forums/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=3136
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Author:  mesmark [ Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:50 am ]
Post subject:  crossword maker problems

The crossword maker has a few functions, each has limited use. It should work fine but sometimes it doesn't.


500 server error:
The 500 server error occurs when the maker 'times out.' It will time out becuase it didn't successfully build your puzzle with all of the words.

All you need to do is hit refresh on your browser and it will try again. Alternatively, you can hit back and click the 'make it' button again.

If you are make a crossword and word search together, you'll get that error more often if you have quite a few entries (over 12 or so.) That's because the maker has to not only build a crossword but also build a word search without leaving anything out.

If you keep getting the error and the worksheet never builds, you may need to get rid of the word search or decrease the number of puzzle words.



blank word search:
the word search that comes with the crossword maker is 12x15. If you word is longer than 15 characters (including spaces) it won't fit into the maker and cause it to fail. It won't time out as above but you just won't get any words in the puzzle.

If you have longer words, you can use the regular word search maker which has a lot more options. There are larger puzzle sizes and more space for text strings and other options.




funky layouts with the images option:
In general the maker with images is designed for simple vocabulary or simple question and answers. By simple, I mean short.

If you put in a long "hint" above the word it will push the image down. The more options you have like this the more cramped it will get. Unfortunately, I have to work with a fixed amount of space (the single sheet of paper) and so I can't have everything expand.

The only option is to reduce the amount of material you have in your puzzle. You can reduce the 'hints' length or reduce the number of puzzle entries.




it's blank:
The problem may be that you've selected the images for hints but didn't type any text for the puzzle word.

You'll also need to type in the words you'd like for the puzzle. Even though you select the images, the words still need to be typed in. The images are not anchored to any text to allow you to freely change words to whatever you want, for example: pants-trousers, alligator-crocodile, ... or verbs in different forms, take-takes-taking-took-taken. You'll also be able to enter short sentences. "It is a bear." or "a bear", instead of just "bear".



the boxes in the puzzle are tiny:
sometimes the boxes get really small with more or longer words. The maker is trying to fit everything into the defined space. If it has too many words running vertically it gets squashed and makes the boxes smaller.

if you hit the refresh button on your browser, the maker will make a new puzzle and you'll get a new layout. You can continue to do this until you get an evenly spread (horizontal and vertical) puzzle to your liking. Alternatively, you can hit the back button and then click the 'make it' button again.




the numbers in the boxes are hard to see:
I made the numbers a fixed size to eliminate tiny numbers with smaller puzzles. I made them gray so students can write right over the numbers without them getting in the way.

If that's a problem or they aren't photocopying well, the only thin I can advise is to go over them with a pen or a pencil before copying. Sorry, that I don't have a better answer than that.




If you have other problems or querries please post them below. I'll try to help, and I'm continuing to work on the crossword maker to make it the best I can.

Author:  nadia [ Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: crossword maker problems

Hi Mark...the crossword maker is perfect ..I find it very useful ..thanks

Author:  jennyfer [ Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:21 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hi Mark !
I use your resources for every theme I prepare for my students, thank you!
I'm now preparing a "Body parts theme" and I have created a crossword online. How can I save it on my laptop ? I can't print it now and I would like to save it for later... any idea?
many thanks,

Author:  mesmark [ Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:06 pm ]
Post subject: 

jennyfer wrote:
I can't print it now and I would like to save it for later... any idea?

Actually, you can't save the documents. You can only print them.

To create a file that can be saved, requires some backend software installation that my server doesn't allow me to use. I may move the site in the future to another server that allows this but for now, it can't be done, Sorry.

Author:  Kiwione [ Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:53 pm ]
Post subject: 

I don't know I just spent about half an hour trying to make crosswrods for the bedroom and nature themes.
But it just comes out blank???
it it just me?

Author:  mesmark [ Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:17 pm ]
Post subject: 

Kiwione wrote:
I don't know I just spent about half an hour trying to make crosswrods for the bedroom and nature themes.
But it just comes out blank???

Kiwione - sorry about the problems and wasted time. Can you give me your word list? Also, were you using images or text hints? And did you try to add a crossword?

(I don't need your text hints, just the word list to test.)

Author:  sarete [ Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: crossword maker problems

Sorry, I have a doubt. How can I print the crossword that I have designed? I know I can save it, but I want to print it. What is the steps I have to follow?

Author:  mesmark [ Sun Aug 05, 2012 7:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: crossword maker problems

sarete - the Tools for Educators site is set up for you to print the worksheets just like you would print a page off the Internet. You'll need to use the web browser's print function, usually located at the top of the browser either in a 'file' or 'tools' menu.

You can also use the 'print preview' function which should allow you to adjust you margins. I like that option because you can center the worksheet on the page.

Let me know if you have any problems with that.

Author:  sarete [ Wed Aug 08, 2012 3:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: crossword maker problems

:D Thanks a lot! I can print it!

Author:  sarete [ Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: crossword maker problems

:smt006 Good morning! I new using this program and I have another doubt, how can I include my exercises in the bank of this page? or how can I save it for using it after?

Author:  mesmark [ Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: crossword maker problems

Sorry, there isn't a 'save file' option. These worksheets are designed simply for printing as needed. However, you can keep a hard copy of the worksheet to photocopy again at a later date.

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