Solving Crossword Puzzles: Guidelines and Tips

The impact of crossword puzzles extends beyond entertainment. Solving them is a great way to improve your focus and memory retention. And of course, it's a proven method to expand your vocabulary. So, if you want to maximize your vacant time, why not try answering some crossword puzzle? You might be surprised how addictive this game can be!

Uncovering Its History

The first-ever crossword puzzle was released in 1913 by a British journalist, Arthur Wyne. At that time, it was called a "word-cross puzzle". Though the two have different names, both follow the basic guidelines of the game. Years after, it spread across nations and became popular worldwide.

Learning the Basics of the Game

The main goal of crossword puzzles is to complete all grids with the correct words. Each box must contain only one letter and the words should not extend past the number of available boxes. Some of the boxes have numbers on their upper left. It kicks off with no. 1 at the top left and then increases towards the bottom right. Each of the numbers connects to the questions listed in the puzzle that are classified either as across or down, making it easy to pinpoint their corresponding grids. Do take note that only letters are allowed ― no symbols, characters, or whatsoever. To make it easier, we've rounded up some tips that you can use when playing crossword puzzles.

1. Focus on the fill-in-the-blank questions first

Puzzle games are a mixture of easy, moderate, and difficult questions. The easiest of them all are fill-in-the-blank types since these already come with clues. So, it's best that you start with these questions to conveniently create a network of words.

2. Go through the easy and short questions

Scan through the clues that are much easier and solve as many questions as you can. Give priority to three-to-five letter entries to break open some grids. Fill in the correct words that fit the grid and do the same for the next items. Prioritizing the easy questions increases your momentum.

3. Take out the plurals

Another significant tip is to prioritize clues that are in plural form. This means that you can put "S" at the end box of the grid. However, you have to also consider that not all plural words or phrases have an "S". Hence, it's suggested that you write it with a pencil first.

4. Look for clues with past tense or action verbs

It's important to understand the given clues, which may include verbs. For past tense, most of these finish up with "ED" while action verbs end in "ING". Just like the plural ones, use a pencil when adding these letters to the boxes.

5. Check the synonyms

To further unlock the grids, try answering those clues focusing on synonyms. For example, one entry requires a 4-letter synonym of serene. One potential answer could be "calm". As you work on more items, you will also solve other clues.

6. Try guessing the colloquial answers

Colloquial words are informal words or phrases often used by society. Simply said, these are slang expressions. So, if an entry has a clue "a guy", the answer could be "dude". Another example of a colloquial term is "lemme", which means "let me".

7. Spot the abbreviations and acronyms

These are pretty much easy items to answer. For instance, if entries have "Abbr.", this means that the solutions are abbreviations. Acronyms, on the other hand, are also straightforward clues so take advantage of them.

8. Consider the theme of the puzzle

Some crossword puzzles have specific categories. This narrows down the items to be answered because they are relatively associated with one another. Some of the common themes include historical events, animal species, human anatomy, and celebrities.

9. Take into account the editors

Puzzle makers often use similar clues to at least one or two of their puzzles. That is why it's recommended that you stick to one platform or source. Through this, you get to uncover the fundamental language and style used by the puzzle creators. Such familiarity makes your gaming experience less stressful.

10. Use a pencil for unsure answers

If you're still uncertain with some answers, work in pencil. Drafts are pretty much helpful to avoid mistakes. This way, it will be easy for you to retract your guesses and make necessary corrections. Remember that one mistake can affect the entirety of the game. Therefore, all your answers must be definite so there's no need to go back and disrupt the gaming process.

Keeping an Open Mind and Enjoying the Game

Crossword puzzles are an enigma itself. With the set of clues, it can either take you the correct answer or lead you to the wrong path. Therefore, it's important that you keep an open mind when answering this kind of game. Oftentimes, crossword puzzles are relatively subjective based on the style of the creator. So, it's pertinent that you try to approach every clue with receptiveness to easily fill the grids and eventually complete the puzzle.

Also, if you get stuck while trying to find the answer, don't stress yourself out. Leave it for a bit and just go back once you've relaxed. There is no need to force yourself and finish it in one sitting. Surprisingly, players who take their time answering this game are more effective. So, it's best that you take a break once in a while and just go with the flow. And of course, you are given the freedom to tap outside sources. You can ask your family or friends or even look up some information from the internet. Remember that there's nothing wrong with asking for help. After all, puzzle games are more self-focused. You are challenging your own skillset and not the other way around.


Clearly, you don't have to be an expert to play this game! All you need to do is answer the grids one by one. While doing so, you are continuously adding something to your knowledge base while also having fun. So, if you want an efficient way to spend your lazy afternoons, get the ball rolling and start filling in puzzles!