Crosswords are exciting to solve. However, they come will different levels of difficulty and some can be really intimidating and make you feel like you are sitting down to take some test. One of the things that can be frustrating is that the relationship between the crossword clues and the answers can seem obscure and random. Therefore, if you are a huge fan of crossword puzzles but you are finding some of them quite challenging, don’t worry, follow these tricks and hacks, and you will crack every puzzle.
- Figure Out the Theme
Most crossword puzzles have a specific theme, but figuring it out is often hard. A good place to start would be checking the crossword title. Themes are presented in many ways, from diagonal words within the puzzle to word search style.
- Same Tense
If a particular clue is a verb, the answer always matches the same tense. For instance if the clue is about doing something, the answer will most likely end in –ING. Therefore, you can pencil in –ING as the ending. If the clue is plural, the answer probably ends in –S; so, if you haven’t cracked the answer, you can start by dropping in an –S at the end.
- Use the Crossings
If you are stuck on a word that goes down, fill in more words that go across to add more letters to the word. And if the word goes across, fill in more words that go down.
- Memorize Common Crossword Puzzle Words
There are some words that are widely used in crossword puzzles. Three and four-letter words such as “ERA,” “ORE,” and “ARE” are pretty common and will rarely miss in a crossword.
- Question Marks Indicate Puns
The use of a question mark at the end of a clue often indicates that something is up. It tells you that not everything is as it seems. Therefore, it’s more of trickery or wordplay. For instance, the clue “Line of clothing?” the answer is “CREASE.”
- Abbreviations for Abbreviations
If the clue has an abbreviation, the answer will also have one. For instance, if the clue is “M.D and Ph.D.,” the answer should be “DEGS.” The clue can also prompt an abbreviated answer if it literally states “abbr.”
- Foreign Language for Foreign Language
If the clue is in a foreign language, the answer will also be in that language. For instance, if the clue is “Summer in Le Havre,” the answer should be “ETE.”
- The Use of Parentheses and “With”
The use of parentheses indicates additional information to the clue. Alternatively, it could mean that the word within the parentheses completes a phrase when combined with the answer. This also applies when the clue uses the word “with.” For instance, if the clue is “Bungle with “up,”’ the answer is “MESS.” If the clue is “Out of _____ (away),” the answer is “TOWN.”
- Get Outside Help
Sometimes it’s also good to use references. This way, you get to improve your vocabulary and move up to the more challenging puzzles. One option is to do the crossword with a friend, and this is usually quite enjoyable and engaging. Alternatively, you use a crossword dictionary or an online crossword solver like WordGiraffe.