OneAcross
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Hints for Better Searching

Clues
Clue Entry: Enter the clue as it appears in the puzzle. You can eliminate punctuation and capitalization if you prefer, but some of our clue experts may be able to do a better job with the exact clue.
Fill-in-the-Blanks: Use an underscore in the place of a blank: jai _ (you only need to enter one)
Italics: Some puzzles use italics to indicate titles. You can surround italicized text by quotation marks: "X-files" character
Empty Clue: Sometimes the words in the clue mislead the solver. It can help to use a blank clue just to see what words match the letter pattern you've got.
Patterns
Length: Rather than typing ???????? you can just type 8 in the pattern field. You can also combine methods, so you could type   S6R   instead of   S??????R
Unknown Characters: You can use ? to indicate letters you are unsure of, but you can also use any non-letter character. You may find . (period) or - (dash) useful substitues. For example .S...V is equivalent to ?S???V
Known Characters: To constrain the search, you can fill in letters you already know. If you are absolutely sure of a letter, enter a capital letter in that positon. Typing aS.... indicates that you are 95% sure that the second letter is an s.
Possible Characters: If you think you know a letter, but are less sure about it, you can still help guide the search. If you are pretty sure of a letter, enter a lower case letter in that position. Typing as.... indicates that you are 60% sure that the second letter is an s.
Multiple Words: The pattern is given as a single string length, regardless of how many words make it up. Even if you know that answer is a three letter word followed by a four letter word (as you often do in Cryptics), you still enter ???????. Note that OneAcross does not perform as well on Cryptic or British-style crosswords.
Candidate Lists
Words: The candidate list that is returned is annotated with which words match the clue in the database. If no clue is given, the list are the words that best fit the pattern.
Scores: The score (or confidence) asigned to a word is determined by a number of factors, including how often that word occurs in crossword puzzles, and how similar the clue is to existing clues (an exact match will lead to higher confidence than if just a word or two match).