We present the Berkeley Crossword Solver, a state-of-the-art approach for automatically solving crossword puzzles. Our system works by generating answer candidates for each crossword clue using neural question answering models and then combines loopy belief propagation with local search to find full puzzle solutions. Compared to existing approaches, our system improves exact puzzle accuracy from 57% to 82% on crosswords from The New York Times and obtains 99.9% letter accuracy on themeless puzzles. Our system also won first place at the top human crossword tournament, which marks the first time that a computer program has surpassed human performance at this event. To facilitate research on question answering and crossword solving, we analyze our system’s remaining errors and release a dataset of over six million question-answer pairs.
Language models (LMs) must be both safe and equitable to be responsibly deployed in practice. With safety in mind, numerous detoxification techniques (e.g., Dathathri et al. 2020; Krause et al. 2020) have been proposed to mitigate toxic LM generations. In this work, we show that these detoxification techniques hurt equity: they decrease the utility of LMs on language used by marginalized groups (e.g., African-American English and minority identity mentions). In particular, we perform automatic and human evaluations of text generation quality when LMs are conditioned on inputs with different dialects and group identifiers. We find that detoxification makes LMs more brittle to distribution shift, especially on language used by marginalized groups. We identify that these failures stem from detoxification methods exploiting spurious correlations in toxicity datasets. Overall, our results highlight the tension between the controllability and distributional robustness of LMs.