5 Amazing Tips & Tricks to Solve Crossword Puzzles

A crossword is basically a word puzzle organized in square or rectangular grids of black and white shaded boxes. Crossword puzzles are one of the oldest forms of puzzles that have been prevalent since Arthur Wyne invented them in December 1913. Most teachers recommend crossword puzzles for kids because it helps to improve their overall cognitive ability. Also solving crosswords comes with medical benefits. According to the Bronx-20 year old Aging study, solving crosswords puzzles accounted for a 2.54-year delay in dementia.

Not everyone has found solving crossword puzzles easy. Anyone who has ever attempted solving a crossword has inevitably run into a roadblock at some point or the other. The fact is that whether you’re a crossword guru, expert, or novice, you are bound to run into roadblocks occasionally.

You don’t necessarily need a high IQ level or genius to solve the most basic crossword puzzles. Most times, solving crosswords appears to be a work of intelligence or your level of vocabulary, but more often than not, this isn’t the case. This article highlights the five best tricks to apply when solving crossword puzzles. Following these nifty tricks would help you solve crosswords faster and ultimately increase the fun while playing. 

1. Always Fill in the Blanks First

When starting a crossword puzzle, the best thing you can do for yourself is to fill in the blank spaces. Virtually every crossword available contains fill-in-the-blanks. Those fill-in-the-blanks are often very easy to crack; they don’t require much strain or endless decoding to solve.  

The most straightforward answers to guess are the fill-in-the-blank clues. However, not the toughest of clues, solving fill-in-the-blanks serves as a launchpad for discovering future solutions. Cracking more grids gives you more confidence to tackle the more extensive and complex grids.

One factor that constantly prevents crossword puzzle players from completing the entire puzzle isn’t always the severity of the puzzle or its difficulty. Still, they often start with the wrong grids and clues. After staring at the paper for about 20 minutes, trying to solve the hard ones first without getting results, they give up. Please make it a habit to always start with the fill-in-the-blank. This would help improve your motivation and confidence towards tackling the bigger puzzles. 

2. Stick to your Preferred Puzzle Editor

This might seem like an unusual trick, but solving puzzles created by a specific puzzle editor can help you familiarize yourself with the editor’s work and allow you to spot clues more easily. 

At the starting point of your crossword puzzle journey, it is crucial to identify a puzzle editor that you love and remain loyal to that editor’s puzzles. Dabbling around numerous puzzles created by different editors can hinder your chances of completing a crossword. 

As a novice, you should stick to one puzzle editor. By the time you’ve garnered enough experience, you can explore more crossword answers here.

3. Feel free to Look Up Answers

It may surprise you that looking up answers when solving crossword puzzles isn’t cheating. When you’ve indeed hit a brick wall when attempting a particular clue and the solution seems impossible, it’s ok to look up answers online, atlas, consult a dictionary or an encyclopedia. When it’s considered cheating is looking up answers before making any effort at all.

The main aim of a crossword puzzle is to improve your vocabulary and your cognizance. Research international states, capitals, world currencies, etc. According to database XWord info, there are a wide variety of words that have constantly been repeated in the New York Times Magazine.

Committing these words to memory makes you a better crossword player. It is also recommended you engage in trivia quizzes and regularly read up on archives and articles on crosswordese.com

4. Always Solve Crosswords with a Pencil

Yet again, another essential factor that most players look away from. Playing crosswords with a marker or a pen that can’t be erased often results in naming down the wrong solutions that you can’t correct later.

Solving crosswords with pencils allows you the freedom to guess and lightly pencil down suspected answers without fear of making mistakes. Making mistakes while solving prevents you from making them again and makes you a better puzzler overall. 

Although if you’re solving online, don’t hesitate to type out your guesses. You can always undo your mistakes.

5. Take a Break

If it comes to the worst-case scenario, considering you’ve tried every known tip or trick you’ve learned, it’s time to take a break. Taking a break doesn’t necessarily mean giving up, but it gives you a chance to recharge your brain cells which I bet are heating after getting frustrated with a particular clue. 

Decoding a crossword puzzle is very similar to yoga. Both are challenging but also relaxing. Going out, taking a walk, playing some music, and returning to the crossword puzzle with a fresh mind is a good idea.

Conclusion

Most times, the most efficient puzzle solvers are not always the smartest. This is because solving crosswords isn’t necessarily about how much you know but the method used to approach every puzzle. Following those tricks above would help improve your methodology and the pace at which you solve crossword puzzles. If you still find yourself struggling to solve crosswords after reading this article and utilizing these tips, feel free to check back on these tips.