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All About Crossword Puzzles

History of Crossword Puzzles

On December 21, 1913 a man named Arthur Wynne published what is known as the first crossword puzzle. However, Arthur’s puzzle was not like the ones we see today. For one thing, he called it a “word-cross.” It was also diamond shaped and had no internal black squares.

But we can forgive poor Arthur for that, can’t we? His invention caught on and within a decade nearly every U.S. newspaper featured crossword puzzles. Today, crossword puzzles are an enormously popular pastime.

Getting Started with Crossword Puzzles

So how do you decide what crossword puzzle to buy? If you already read the newspaper, you’re probably familiar with crossword puzzles. Be advised that some will be easier than others. The New York Times is famous for their difficult Saturday crossword. If you’re a beginner, check out Monday’s edition as it’s supposedly the easiest.

If you don’t read the paper, there are crossword puzzle books you can buy, such as:

The New York Times Crossword Omnibus: 1,001 Puzzles from the NYT – Around $12 for the biggest book of crossword puzzles ever. Highly recommended.

The New York Times Monday Through Friday Easy to Tough Crossword Puzzles – Great for beginners and experts alike

The Outrageous Crossword Puzzle and Wordbook Game for Kids – Great for kids, or the adult who really wants to start slow

How to Do a Crossword Puzzle

Doing a crossword puzzle isn’t hard. Just look at the clues, see which answers you know and fill those in first. Then look across and down to see if you notice anything new. That’s all there is to it.

…Oh, how I wish that were true. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Doing a crossword puzzle isn’t the problem. It’s finishing the crossword puzzle that’s hard.

A few words of advice:

-Read the dictionary. Read the almanac. Learn as many obscure words and phrases as possible.

-Think outside of the box. Crossword puzzle makers are a tricky, mischievous bunch and they’ll use words in ways you never dreamed of–so try thinking of words in new ways. It’ll help you in your crossword quest.

-Use outside sources? Some people aren’t afraid of using outside sources; others feel it’s cheating. It’s really up to you.

-Stay calm Don’t let the crossword demons haunt your sleep. If you’re stressing, take a break and come back to it later.

The most important thing to remember is: Have fun! If you’re craving a little extra crossword magic, check out the excellent documentary about the world of crossword puzzles; it’s called Wordplay.

So are you adding crossword puzzles to your list of hobbies yet? Let us know in the comment section!

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