Machine reading of crossword grid

Having spent some time ove the weekend entering clues, solutions and breakdowns of some sample crosswords for the hints database web application that I’m occasionally working on, and really struggling with it taking 30 – 45 minutes to add a complete grid I hit upon the idea of maybe trying to write a program that could scan a photo of the grid, determine the grid layout (i.e, identify the positions of the across and down clues) and then use OCR to detect the solution.

Just as a diversion, you understand. Probably won’t get very far. And I’ve still got a bunch of more relevant feature requests to be working on.

But it does mean that I can do a few blog posts with some cool sounding transforms and other mathematical wizardry without really knowing what I’m talking about (perhaps, I know people that have done this as a career, perhaps not).

OpenCV has python bindings and some good tutorials so it might be worth exploring for a while. And probably not as daft as trying to use image recognition in the garden for a smart scarecrowmagpie.

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