5 Tricks to Solve Crossword Puzzles for Adults
Crossword puzzles are the classic brain trainers and have been prevalent for over a century. They are highly recommendable for kids to improve mental functioning and are also fun for adults. There are plenty of crossword puzzle games in the market today that both kids and adults can enjoy.
Solving a crossword puzzle, more often than not, seems like a challenging test of your intelligence or the size of your vocabulary. However, it is in reality about patience and practice and understanding what the clues ask you to do. You don’t need to be a crossword puzzle expert to enjoy solving them, nor do you always need to know all the many crossword answers. With few basic strategies and the patience to discover the relationship between a clue and its answer, puzzle-solving will not only be more accessible but also quite addictive. Therefore, here are a few tips and tricks by which you can also become a good and efficient crossword puzzle solver.
Table of Contents
1. Start with the Easier Puzzles
You should take up a crossword puzzle of a manageable level. It will be easier for you to understand the mechanism of the puzzle and also will boost your confidence. For example, The New York Times crossword puzzle increases in difficulty each day of the week. The most accessible puzzles appear on Mondays and get progressively more complex through Saturday. Therefore, try to solve as many Monday or easy puzzles as possible, the clues of which will be pretty direct and effortless to crack. Eventually, with practice and confidence, you can push yourself and move up to the tougher ones.
2. Focus on Small Word Entries
While you’re going through the grid, look over the clues for all the 3, 4, and 5 letter words. Puzzle makers or editors rarely have as many of these short words to pick from in the English language. Hence, as you solve more puzzles, you can get familiar with the short words that the makers and editors use repeatedly. It is where loads of crosswordese crop up, i.e., the words you do not often see in daily life but are often used in crossword puzzles. Memorizing several of these repetitive words is helpful for future reference.
3. Fill-in-the-Blank Clues
The fill-in-the-blank (FITB) clues are the most accessible type to solve frequently. Hence by cracking these first, you can get a good start on your grid. They are also quite easily spotted in the clue list, which makes them the ideal first option. There are multiple puzzle games where some of the trickiest puzzles had several short fill-in-the-blank clues. When you knock them out first, they can also give you a boost to your confidence. Additionally, these clues help you get the ball rolling, giving you a good starting point to solve the puzzle further.
4. Watch Out the Misdirecting Words and Wordplays
The crossword puzzle makers fancy using misdirection as a technique to confuse and test the solvers. They also like to take advantage of the fact that the puzzles are a written play game and not spoken. For example, ‘Flower’ or ‘Shower’ is used to clue something that ‘Flows’ or ‘Shows.’ Also when asking about ‘Doctor’s number?’ i.e., ‘Anesthetic’ (‘number’ in this case might refer to something that numbs). Furthermore, a question mark at the end of a clue usually tells you that not everything is as it seems, and the clue might involve some wordplay or trickery. For example, Bread box? means ATM.
5. Keep Calm while Solving
Even if a puzzle might seem challenging or impossible to solve, keeping a calm mind and maintaining your composure can do wonders here. While stuck on a clue, try moving to another corner of the grid and return to the former clue later. In such cases, putting the puzzle away and getting to it after a few hours can also help you to complete the puzzle with a fresh mind. Make sure that you approach the clues with an open mind without jumping to conclusions. And, primarily, it is no wrongdoing to look up the answers or an unfamiliar word. The best part of solving a good crossword puzzle is learning more from what you started with.
Deciphering a crossword puzzle is like performing mental yoga as both are challenging and relaxing at the same time. Moreover, it’s also fun, especially if you treasure words and wordplay. It is a word puzzle that usually takes the form of a square or a rectangular grid of black and white shaded squares. The game’s objective is to fill the white squares with letters, forming words or phrases, by solving clues that lead to the answers. It is instrumental in learning a few interesting words and things every day.
Crossword puzzles are highly regarded for mental stimulation as it accesses your verbal language and your memory from various dimensions of knowledge. It is a consuming game that activates the brain cells and works relentlessly to think resourcefully. Whether you choose to solve it from a newspaper like the highly renowned The New York Times Crossword or from any other online platform, it is excellent to improve your mental flexibility. The above are essential tips and tricks to help any adult solve crossword puzzles with ease. These are some basic strategies that can go a long way to working with crossword puzzles.