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10 Expert tips to quickly solve crossword puzzles

10 Expert tips to quickly solve crossword puzzles

2 min read

Crossword puzzles are a fun, exciting way to challenge your intellectual knowledge and learn new words. But how can you get better at solving them quickly? Read on to find out 

1. Start with the easy ones

Begin your crossword-solving journey by filling in the easy answers first. Look for clues with straightforward answers that immediately come to mind. This will help you gain momentum and confidence as you tackle more challenging clues later.

2. Scan for theme clues 

Many crossword puzzles have themes that run throughout the grid. Look for clues related to the theme, as they often provide hints or answers to other questions. Identifying and understanding the theme early on can guide your solving process.

3. Focus on the short words 

Focus on filling in the short words first, as they are usually the building blocks of longer answers. Short words like "and," "the," "is," and "are" can help you unlock multiple intersections and reveal more answers.

4. Use cross-referencing

A person solving a crossword puzzle on the bus
Pay attention to clues that reference other answers in the grid. Cross-referencing allows you to confirm or deduce answers based on intersecting words. It's a powerful technique for verifying your answers and solving tricky clues.

5. Think outside the box

Don't limit yourself to literal interpretations of clues. Many crossword clues employ wordplay, puns, or double meanings. Be open to creative interpretations and consider alternative solutions that may not be immediately apparent.

6. Utilise online resources 

This one might be considered a tad controversial by purists, but if you're stuck on a particularly challenging clue, you can use online crossword-solving tools and websites. These resources offer features like clue lookups, anagrams, and crossword dictionaries to help you find the right answers quickly.

7. Break it down 

A woman solving a crossword puzzle in a newspaper
If a clue seems overwhelming, break it down into smaller parts. Look for prefixes, suffixes, or word fragments that can give you clues about the answer's meaning or structure. Sometimes, solving a clue step by step can lead to a breakthrough.

8. Stay organised 

Keep your crossword grid neat and organised to avoid confusion and errors. Use pencil to fill in answers initially, and only finalise them once you're confident they're correct. Cross out clues as you solve them to keep track of your progress.

9. Take breaks 

Steaming cup of coffee
If you find yourself stuck on a particularly challenging puzzle, take a break and come back to it later with fresh eyes. Stepping away from the puzzle can give your brain time to process and subconsciously work on solving clues.

10. Practise regularly

Like any skill, crossword-solving improves with practice. Make solving crosswords a regular part of your routine to sharpen your vocabulary, pattern recognition, and problem-solving abilities. The more puzzles you solve, the faster and more proficient you'll become.
By incorporating these expert tips into your crossword-solving strategy, you'll be equipped to tackle puzzles with confidence and efficiency, whether you're a novice or seasoned solver. Happy puzzling!
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