Tips for Solving Crossword Puzzles

Some basic strategy tips to help you score higher at crossword puzzle games.

Crosswords are puzzles designed to test your vocabulary and language skills. Varying in difficulty, crosswords can be anything from quite simple to highly challenging. Read on for some great tips if you're struggling with crosswords and want to complete them faster and more logically.

Fill in the Blanks

The fill-in-the-blank clues are some of the most straightforward clues to solve to get initial letters on the grid. They are easy to find on the clue list, and having a few of these clues solved can make the following clues slightly easier.

Fill In What You Already Know

Some clues in crosswords are more straight-up than others. A crossword clue might be 'The Prince of Jordan.' Suppose you know the answers to these types of clues; it's a great way to get letters on the grid.

Check the Short Words First

It feels great to successfully complete a long word on a crossword, but to get the ball rolling, it is usually a good idea to check the smaller words that are easier to get. The more you complete crossword puzzles, the more often you will see these words appear, as puzzle masters try to choose words that you may not always see day-to-day.

It's in the Clue

The clue holds more information than it first seems. When the clue is in noun form, the answer will be a noun. The same goes for verbs, plurals, and tenses. This is also the same for clues that contain abbreviations.

Inspect each clue for these elements, and it will drastically reduce the number of possible answers.

Think Outside the Box

When reading words with multiple meanings, think outside the box from the obvious. For example, a bolt could be a strike of lightning, an adjective for something moving rapidly, or a metal fastener used. There are many examples of this across the English language, and puzzle masters will use everything in their power to keep you second-guessing yourself.

Make a guess

If you are not sure of a word but have an idea about what could fit, simply make a guess. If you are playing a paper-based crossword, you can try filling in the spaces very lightly in pencil. If you are playing on a digital medium, there is usually no consequence for filling in a letter and replacing it later.

Once you have made your guess, use the newly filled letters to see if any of the other crossings now make sense.

Multi-word Answers are Common

Answers can be multi-word, and it's no longer common for the clue to specify this anymore. Answers can contain names, phrases, media titles, and more, so remember to think past single words when coming up with your answers.

Come Back Later

Sometimes our heads can get foggy when we focus too hard on coming up with answers. Coming back later can stop the tunnel-vision effect we occasionally experience when we are in a stump on a clue.

It's a Learning Experience

A crossword can be seen as a learning experience as well as a fun game. That means you shouldn't ever feel guilty about using a tool to help you with a clue, as not knowing an answer can stop your progress.

This means using a dictionary or search engine to continue your progress in a word search should be seen as a learning experience rather than cheating.

Key Points

The key points to take away are that the easiest way to complete crosswords is to fill out the most straightforward answers first, then take a look at longer, more complex clues at a later stage, and use the clues within the clue to narrow down your answers.

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Published on 12 Nov 2021
Author: Jordan