Crossword Answers & Puzzles
Everything you need to know

The first crossword puzzle was published in 1913. Crazy right? So over 100 years ago people were trying to come up with the first crossword answers. And today crossword puzzles are still the most popular word games around the world. Why is that you may ask? Well, it probably has to do with the way that crossword puzzles are actually designed. Let's take a closer look.

What is a Crossword Puzzle?

Merriam-Webster defines a crossword puzzle as “a puzzle in which words are filled into a pattern of numbered squares in answer to correspondingly numbered crossword clue and in such a way that the words read across and down”.

So a crossword is a word puzzle played on a formatted vertical and horizontal grid where letters are placed within the squares of the grid.

The aim of the game is to fill in all empty squares with letters, usually from left to right, and both horizontally and vertically. The letters form words that are the crossword answers that should be the correct answer to the given crossword clues for that row or column.

By its very nature crosswords are a word game in which trivia questions, also called crossword puzzle clues, are to be answered by single words. What makes them so fun is that they challenge both your broad knowledge of pop culture, world history and entertainment as well as you vocabulary.

The History of the Crossword

The first crossword puzzles appeared in the early 1900s in England as a game for children. Only after making its way to the United States it developed in a game for adults.

The crossword had its first newspaper appearance in the "New York World". Although the game looked quite different from what we are used to today. It looked like a diamond without any blacked out squares. Within the next decade the diamond shape was dropped for the square shape we know today and crossword puzzles started appearing in every newspaper in the United States.

Eventually the crossword made it back to Europe where it also started to be one of the most favorite features.

The New York Times, of all newspapers, initially had a problem with publishing a crossword puzzle in their newspaper.

The Times changed its mind after the attack of Pearl Harbor as a way to get peoples minds off the tragedy and provide them with what would eventually become one of America's favorite pass times.

The NY Times was the last major newspaper in the United States that would publish crossword puzzles in their Sunday print. By 1950, due to its popularity, a puzzle was published daily.

Today the New York Times crossword puzzle is by far the most well-known in the world.

But it's by far the only popular one. Many newspaper to this day publish a daily crossword. The most notable ones are the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker, the American Values Club and Inkubator Crosswords.

The Different Types of Crossword Puzzles

Today, crossword puzzles come in all shapes and sizes and with many different difficulty levels that challenges beginners as well as hardcore players.

What's great about crosswords in general is that you can play them everywhere. In the newspaper, online on websites, offline in apps, in books, magazines, heck, there are even napkins that include small word puzzles.

There are many different types of Crosswords with the sometimes cryptic names:

  • Cryptic Puzzle
  • Blocked Grid Puzzle
  • Barred Grid Puzzle
  • Trivia Puzzle
  • Word Puzzle
  • Sodoku Puzzle

And this list isn't even exhaustive. There are many more puzzle types out there but these are the most common ones.

Answer Anagram & Abbreviation Crossword Clues

Here the crossword clue is merely hints for the player on how to solve the puzzle but often shouldn't be taken literally. Especially for these type of games it makes sense to get some crossword puzzle help. That could be in the form of an anagram solver, a crossword dictionary or a digital crossword solver. Often simply using a crossword clue dictionary can help with identifying the right answer pattern for specifically tricky clues.

The Cryptic Crossword

For the Cryptic Crossword to be solved the answers to the clues need to be altered in order to make them fit on the grid. You'll find that these crosswords are also referred to as the British Crossword. Often crossword clues are given as anagrams where the answer pattern first needs to be deciphered in order to think of the right answer.

Here's an example of such an anagram clue:

Terrain ruined coach (7)

Rearranging the letters of the word "terrain" into a word that means "coach" gives you the answer that is "trainer". If you're struggling with a specific crossword clue, maybe try a word solver or anagram solver.

Often in cryptic crossword puzzles abbreviations are used in the hints to indicate specific letters within the puzzle, including both consonants and vowels.

Examples for such abbreviations are:

  • 'four' used as a crossword clue for the roman numeral letters 'IV'
  • 'Louisiana' used as a clue for its abbreviation 'LA'

Don't worry if you need a little crossword help to fill in the already known letters. To find words is often not as easy as one would think. Many crossword constructors make their clues especially hard, an often almost impossible to solve without using word finders or a crossword solver. So don't worry if you are using a little help when you try to solve these tricky clues. You can still go to crossword heaven.

10 Facts about Crossword Puzzles

1. Cruciverbalism

The act of creating a crossword puzzle is called Cruciverbalism.

2. Cruciverbalist

A Cruciverbalist is a crossword puzzle enthusiast.

3. Brainteaser

Crossword puzzles are an excellent brain exercise.

4. Largest Crossword Puzzle

The biggest crossword had a size of 91000 squares and 28000 clues.

5. Longest Crossword Answer

The longest word ever used in a Crossword puzzle had 58 letters. It is the name of a Welsh town:

6. Ancient History

The Romans were already playing word games. In the ruins of Pompeii were uncovered.

7. Crossword Prohibition

During the 2nd World War, Paris banned crossword puzzles for the feat of secret messages being passend on to enemies.

8. Most Popular Crossword Genres

There are the most popular types & styles of crossword puzzles:

  • The American-style grid
  • The British-style grid / South African-style grid
  • The Japanese-style grid
  • The Swedish-style grid

9. The New York Times Crosswor

In the New York Times, the daily crossword from Sunday to Thursday have a theme that unite the puzzles' longest answers. The theme answers can always be found in symmetrical places on the grid.

10. Digital Crosswords

The first software to generate crossword puzzles is from 1976. Today, there are several crossword solver application using large databases of crossword clues and crossword puzzle answers that help players find missing words.