One of the most popular hobbies around the world, crossword puzzles are fun, entertaining, and super productive. They not only keep you entertained but also stimulate your brain towards a healthier lifestyle. Regardless of their fun and enticing nature, they can be quite challenging at times. So, how do experts do it? How do they solve even the toughest and the most challenging crossword puzzles in a jiffy?
Well, we have the answer. There are certain tips and tricks that crossword experts and masters utilize to enhance their puzzle-solving process. These tips and tricks will not only help you solve difficult puzzles successfully but also do so at the least amount of time possible.
Here are some Crossword Puzzle Tips from around the world swear by crossword experts.
Start on Mondays
Did you know puzzles difficulty level varies according to the day you are solving it at! Yes, on Mondays you will see the easiest crosswords and they keep getting tougher as the week passes by. So, if you have some free time from your office on a Saturday or Sunday and you want to try your hand at crosswords, be warned.
The Saturday puzzle is one of the hardest you will see throughout the week while the Sunday puzzle is in the mid-week difficulty level. Starting at high difficulty level will just dishearten and depress you. It is best to start on Mondays when it is the easiest and keep moving further on the difficulty level.
Start with the FITBs
Experts suggest that one should always start with the FITB. If you don’t know what FITBs are, they are the clues that are designed in a fill-in-the-blank format. They are the easiest part of the crossword puzzle. Not only are they easily spotted but can also be solved without any hassle. Starting with the fill-in-the-blanks will get the ball rolling and help you solve others in a more structured manner.
Keep the theme in mind
Every crossword puzzle is based on a particular theme. Sometimes when you are solving the puzzle, you forget about the theme and stop making the connections. This is where you go downhills. It is crucial to keep the theme at the forefront of your mind. Think about every clue and how it is related to the topic. It will change your entire puzzle-solving process and make it easier and much more accurate.
Focus on small word entries
Small word entries or words with three, four, or five letters in them are much easier to identify. Puzzle contractors have a very limited number of such short words to choose from and they are often repeated. Look over the grid, highlight all such short words, and try to solve them first. Once you have identified these words, it will be so much easier for you to proceed towards the bigger and more complicated words. If you are a regular crossword solver, you might be able to memorize and identify these small, repetitive words in a second.
Clues obey rules- follow them
The clues, as well as the entire crossword, follow some strict rules. A clue will always be in the same part of speech as the answer to that problem. Plurals follow the same rule too. Most clues that use plurals often have an answer that is plural. You can insert the ‘s’ beforehand to identify the word faster. If the clues are abbreviated, the answer to the problem will be abbreviated too. Crosswords follow this strict rule religiously. So, if the clues are in a particular tense, part of speech, or even language, the answers are bound to be the same as them.
Spot the question marks
If you have a clue that is asking a question, the answer is not that difficult. If the clue has used a question mark, the answer will be a play on some word already used in the clue or its answer. Spot them out and solve them first. It will help you build a solid foundation for the tougher and more complicated problems.
Stay loyal to one puzzle editor
If you are an amateur who has just started solving crossword puzzles, make sure you stay loyal to one editor. Whether you are using a magazine, a book, a newspaper, or even some online website, stick to the same until and unless you have a better grasp of the art.
Sticking to one source will make you more familiar with the style of the editor, make you more acquainted to the type of questions it generally asks. This familiarity will significantly simplify the crossword for you and help you be better.
Don’t hesitate to check different sources for information
Some people might say searching and reading about the topic is a form of ‘cheating’. But if you are an amateur, do not hesitate to check dictionaries, trivial magazines, or even google. It will also help you learn something more about the topic and maybe assist you in solving a related puzzle in the future. Some experts advise you to keep notes on interesting new words, trivia, and phrases as they are the ultimate teaching tool and will prepare you for numerous future challenges.
Solve crosswords in a group
Most people prefer to solve crosswords alone while enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning. Whereas solving it in groups is much more beneficial. Especially if you are an amateur, solving an entire crossword puzzle can be quite daunting and intimidating. Working on it with your friends will make the process easier and more lenient. Moreover, you will get access to people with different knowledge levels and strengths that will help you solve even the toughest clues faster. If you are an expert in geography and your group an expert in history, one in sports, one in trivia, just imagine how easy it will be. Solving crosswords in groups also make you more social and verbal.
Despite the fact that solving crossword puzzles have their advantages and benefits for your personal, professional, and social life, you should not stress too much about solving it. It is ultimately a game of fun and if it starts to feel like work, stop right there.
Leave it for some time, refresh your mind, and come back to it later. The answers will come to you once you have relaxed.
Use this tips and tricks and you will see the results. If you want to solve crossword puzzles effectively, you need to follow the structure, keep the rules in mind, and you will be a success. But do not forget to have some fun while you are at it.