7 Tips To Solve Crosswords Across And Down Easily

Crossword puzzles are usually a fun way to pass the time, and research suggests that doing them regularly may help keep your mind sharp. However, you may never have done one before. If you have, you might have found it tedious or frustrating.

Either way, you may be reluctant to start developing a crossword habit. While that’s understandable, it would be a shame to miss out on the potential brain-boosting effects of regularly doing a crossword puzzle.

We’re here today to provide you with seven tips for solving crosswords across and down quickly.

1.   Start With the Simple Clues First

Crossword puzzle clues might have numbers, but there’s no reason you have to do them in order. Instead, it is recommended to start with the most straightforward clues. That means fill-in-the-blank prompts and short words first.

When you’re already familiar with the given phrase, fill-in-the-blank clues only take a moment to solve. Likewise, most people know most three-letter words, making the clues belonging to them much easier to solve. You can use the answers to the simpler clues as hints for the more difficult ones. It’s far more likely that you will be able to come up with a word when you know what letter it starts with, after all.

2.   Pencil In Your Answers

Rather than picking up a pen when you sit down to solve a crossword, use a pencil. Whiteout is another option, but it can get a little messy. It alleviates a lot of stress because it means you don’t have to be right the first time around.

When you’re writing in pencil, there’s no pressure to be perfect. Click here for more.

3.   Don’t Be Afraid To Guess.

In some cases, the best thing you can do is guess. Will you be right? Not always, and maybe not even all that often. Penciling in your answers means that you can erase any mistakes you make. Unfortunately, you don’t have that ability when you write in pen. You have to scribble out mistakes you make in ink, leaving you with a blotchy, illegible mess.

Guessing gets easier with time. As you practice doing crossword puzzles, you might find that your instincts improve. Your guesswork will get better the more puzzles you do.

4.   Double-Check Your Spelling

There is nothing more frustrating than getting toward the end of a crossword puzzle only to discover that, because you misspelled a single word, an entire section of the puzzle is wrong.

Looking up the spelling of a word you’re not sure about isn’t cheating. On the contrary, people would argue that it’s an integral part of learning and growing your vocabulary, which is one of the primary benefits of doing crossword puzzles in the first place.

5.   Be Mindful of Tricks

If crosswords were easy, they wouldn’t be puzzles. They also wouldn’t be any fun. The people who create them want to make you think, and that means being tricky. Many words have more than one definition, and many definitions can apply to more than one word.

Think about the word ‘“date.” What is it? The dried fruit? The social engagement? A number on a calendar? Or, imagine that the clue for one of the blanks in your puzzle is the word “bark.” So is the answer “dog?” Perhaps it’s “tree?” Or maybe “almond,” like the candy?

6.   Take a Break if You’re Feeling Stuck

If you’ve ever walked away from a crossword puzzle only to return to it and have the answers seem obvious, you’re not alone. If you’re feeling stuck, take a break.

The human brain is pretty amazing, even if it might not feel that way when you forget why you walked into the kitchen or lose your car keys. When you give your brain a puzzle, it keeps considering it even when you’re not consciously thinking about it. When you return to the problem, you will often have new insights. Some of history’s most brilliant thinkers have had their best ideas while taking a break. Have a cup of coffee and relax. The puzzle can wait.

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7.   Seek Outside Help

If all else fails, don’t be afraid to get help on a particularly tough clue. Some people are of the mind that looking up an answer or asking someone else is cheating. As far as I’m concerned, seeking outside help just means you’re using your resources.

If you don’t know an answer and can’t guess it based on the letters you have from other words, there’s no shame in looking it up. Answers to questions you genuinely don’t know aren’t going to appear in your brain magically. When you look them up, you’re saving yourself a lot of frustration and learning something new.

Conclusion

What are you waiting for? Pick up a crossword book at your local convenience store, browse online for numerous options, or check out the crossword offered on the puzzle page of your local newspaper. Good luck, and happy solving!