For some solving a crossword puzzle can be a mentally engaging yet restful activity, while for others, it can be so intimidating that they do not know where to start. The good thing is that you can apply strategies to hone your skills and increase your chances of solving the puzzle.
Use a Pencil
Working with a pencil allows you to inscribe your guess, and in case you’re mistaken, you can erase without making your puzzle untidy. Pencils permit you to make mistakes, which in the end makes you a better puzzler.
Start By Filling the Blanks
Experienced crossword solvers will tell you that the blank clues are the easiest to solve. Every puzzle usually has a handful of these fill-in-the-blanks, so if you seek to boost your confidence, target them first.
Focus on Small Word Entries First
Generally, crosswords have answers with a letter between three and twenty-one. The shorter answers are easier to find, as fewer logical combinations can fill those spaces.
Be on the lookout for words composed of common letters such as ode or area. Believe it or not, these words have appeared in the New York crossword puzzles hundreds of times for the past quarter decade.
Do not be afraid to lightly pencil in any guesses. If you are playing online, you can enter the guessed answers without fear, as they can easily be erased with the click of a button. In case the guessed word contains an unusual letter such as J or K, first confirm with the checking.
Avoid Jumping Into Conclusions
As with most puzzles, crosswords require that you have an open mind. Always remember that most English terminologies share similar meanings but have entirely different spellings. For example, reduce, minimize, and lessen.
Cross-check Your Answers
One wrong answer will make it impossible to solve the puzzle, leading to frustrations. Before you ink your solution, ensure it is correct by confirming the entries that cross through it. If one of the crossing lines seems to rhyme with the answer at the back of your head, you might need to reconsider your answer.
A crossword puzzle is not a test that requires you to play by the rules. If you feel stuck, then, by all means, consult a dictionary, encyclopedia, atlas, or the internet.
The best part is that in crossword puzzles, you leave with more vocabulary than you came with. Therefore, do not be afraid to look it up. You can even turn it into a team activity by seeking clues from your friends and family.
Do Not Stress
Crossword puzzles should help you relax and unwind after a long day or week. They are meant to be pastime activities and not tasks. Therefore do not take them seriously, and in case a crossword starts filling like work, take a walk and try again later. You may be surprised that the answers will come more easily after you take a break.
These strategies will only go far in helping you solve a crossword puzzle. Learn the capitals across the globe, plus the names of significant water bodies, physical landmarks, and currencies. Memorizing and recalling are advantageous to your memory. So it’s time you start solving some crossword puzzles.
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