A crossword is a word puzzle that usually takes the form of a square or a rectangular grid of white- and black-shaded squares.
The game’s goal is to fill the white squares with letters, forming words or phrases, by solving clues, which lead to the answers. In languages that are written left-to-right, the answer words and phrases are placed in the grid from left to right (“across”) and from top to bottom (“down”). The shaded squares are used to separate the words or phrases.
What Are the Different Types of Crossword Puzzles?
Some crossword puzzles mix things up by using themes that expand on the standard Q&A format. These are the main types our members expect to see when playing web-based crossword puzzles:
- Cryptic: clues aren’t literal and instead offer hints for to how to complete them
- Blocked grids: the classic crossword puzzles with grids and squares for words
- Barred grids: word endings and divisions are marked by bars rather than grids
- Codeword: you get no clues and each letter of the alphabet is replaced by a number
- Rebus: you can use a letter (or symbol) more than once
- Compound: answers need to follow or precede other answers to make sense
- Quote: famous quotes separated into different parts
- Addition: puzzles that need you to add a letter, letters, or words to words/phrases
- Subtraction: you remove a letter, letters, or words to makes words/phrases
- Tribute: puzzles that celebrate a person or event
- Synonym: all the answers are synonyms of a single/phrase
Each of these puzzle types gives support by offering feedback as you approach the end of the puzzle. If you’re unable to fit a solution into the puzzle because the letters don’t align with your choice words, then you may need to access and reevaluate your answers.
Free Crossword Puzzles
Free Online Daily Crossword Puzzle
Thomas Joseph Crossword
Stan Newman’s Easy Crossword
Daily Commuter Crossword
Free Themed Crossword Puzzles
Penny Dell Crosswords
What is a crossword puzzle clue ?
Clue: A crossword clue is a hint that the solver must decipher to find the answer that is then entered into the puzzle grid. Clues are not necessarily dictionary definitions; they can involve puns, anagrams and other types of wordplay.
Crossing: The intersection between an Across entry and a Down one. Crosswords are intended to play fair with solvers, so a difficult or obscure entry will ideally cross a more “gettable” one.
Entry: The answer to a clue that solvers write into the crossword puzzle. Entries that are part of a theme are called — wait for it — theme entries. Fun fact: In a typical American-style crossword, an entry must have at least three letters.
Fill: A general term for the words or phrases that fill a crossword.
Fill-in-the-blank: A clue that contains a blank where the answer goes. One of the easiest types of clues to solve.
Mini crossword: A 5×5 crossword offered by The New York Times. For comparison, the size of a Times daily crossword is 15×15 and the Sunday crossword is 21×21.
The hardest crossword puzzle I’ve ever done
These crosswords came from Dictionary.com, as strange as it sounds
What is the best free crossword puzzle app?
Whether you’re looking forward to the best puzzle games or exercising your brain with creative word challenges with your friends, we’ve got you covered.
The list entails the best crossword app options for you to download on your Android and iOS devices.
Best Crossword App for Android and iOS
- World’s Biggest Crossword
- Crossword Light
- Word Cross
- English Crossword puzzle
- Word Charm Crossword
- CodyCross: Crossword Puzzles
- One Clue Crossword
- Crossword Puzzle Free (by ITSG)
- NYTimes Crossword
- Shortyz Crosswords
- Alphacross Crossword
- Bonza Word Puzzle
- 5-Minute Crossword Puzzles
- Clean Crosswords
- Crossword Puzzle Free (by Redstone Games)
- Crossword Quiz
- Crossword With Friends
- Picture Perfect Crossword
What is the best crossword solver app?
15 crossword solvers for Android, iOS, and the web that actually work
Crossword puzzles are excellent brain teasers. The easy ones take a few minutes while the most complicated ones can take days.
It’s a good way to learn new things and it’s one of the most popular word puzzles in the world. As it turns out, we sometimes bite off more than we can chew.
There are actually a bunch of apps and websites to help when you’re entirely stumped. Here are the best crossword solvers for Android, iPhone, iPad, and the web that actually work. You should be able to solve those crosswords pretty easily with these.
The best crossword solvers on all platforms
- Anagram Solver (Android)
- Crossword Clue Solver (Android)
- Crossword Solver by Havos (Android)
- CS by LithiumApps (Android)
- Crossword Solver King (Android)
- Across Lite Crosswords (iPad only)
- Anagram Solver (iPhone/iPad)
- The Crossword & Anagram Solver (iPhone/iPad)
- Crossword Solver by Havos (iPhone/iPad)
- Clue Solver (iPhone/iPad)
- Crossword Heaven (web)
- Crossword Solver (web)
- Dictionary.com (web)
- Google Search (web)
- Wordplays (web)
How do you get the answers to crossword puzzles?
Tips for Understanding Crossword Clues
It can be hard to understand a crossword clue because crossword-writers are absolutely notorious for being cryptic. A good crossword player is typically a master riddle-solver, as one has to really think outside of the box to figure out some of these more difficult hints. Here are a few crossword-solving tips:
Question marks often imply wordplay or puns
Usually, crossword clues are written with no punctuation at all, so if you see a question mark, it implies that the answer won’t be as straightforward as you’d think. Think of puns, wordplay, homonyms, and less-obvious answers.
Tenses in clues are written to match the answers
If you’re searching for crossword synonyms, stick to the same past, future, or present tense that the clue is in. For instance, the clue “jumped” would not result in “hops” or “hopping” but “hopped.”
Consider abbreviations carefully
If a clue is abbreviated, the answer will likely be, too. Memorize popular abbreviations, including names of events like WWI, military abbreviations like NCO, and titles like Mr. and Ms. Also memorize common suffixes, as they’re quite popular among crossword writers.
Learn some of the most commonly used crossword answers. See if you can fit any of the “crosswordiest” words, or words not found in everyday speech but often used in crosswords, in your puzzle.
Fill-in-the-blank questions are typically easiest
Usually, you’ll see a common idiom, phrase, or pop culture reference that’s only missing one section. Keep in mind, though, that non-native English speakers might struggle with this because phrases can be so regional and colloquial; see this list of common idioms if you’re struggling.
Pop some pop culture references into your head
Past and present hot topics are fair game in crosswords, so keep in mind all of those hit movies, TV shows, and books, including actors, directors, characters, and writers. If there’s a big awards show like the Emmys, Tonys, or Oscars, a newspaper crossword is likely to reference it. If a creator or politician is doing their big media circuit, you’ll sometimes see them appear in crosswords. But not everything is recent! Consider learning more trivia to have more answers in the back of your brain.
Consider the all-important theme
Crossword writers frequently use themes or even tell stories with their clever puzzles. For instance, if the theme is ballet, an easy answer to “point of pain for dancers” might be “toe.”
Consult a crossword dictionary
Some people keep crossword puzzle dictionaries in their pockets while filling out physical copies. You can use our online crossword synonyms dictionary to find some great ideas. (It’s not a crossword cheat when you’re desperate for one hint!)
For the love of your sanity, use a pencil
If you’re using physical paper instead of an online crossword app, use a pencil and eraser. Mistakes, misinterpretations, and confusion are likely to arise, even if you’re a seasoned pro.
Start with an easier puzzle, then work your way up
If you’re looking up Monday and Tuesday NYT crosswords’ cheats, don’t discourage yourself by trying a Thursday grid. Easy puzzles are a great place to start, with crosswords later in the week getting progressively harder. Don’t expect to be a wiz at a difficult crossword right off the bat!
Play the daily crossword puzzle from Dictionary.com and grow your vocabulary and improve your language skills. Learn new words and practice problem solving skills when you play the daily crossword puzzle. Use the crossword solver from Dictionary.com to help fill in all the clues.
The USA TODAY Crossword app is free to download and play.
Your digital subscription includes free access to interactive and print versions of the daily cryptic and concise puzzles which are publshed in The Times, Monday to Friday.
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