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Crossword puzzle is a popular game owing to its numerous benefits. Not only is it fun to play, but it also improves your vocabulary and exercises the brain. Being a champion in this game is neither an inborn ability nor does it require deep education background. Just like any other game, it takes skills and practice. So, what exactly makes one an expert puzzle solver? Here are a few tips that can help you master the art of solving crossword puzzles.
1. Start with Simple Crosswords
Rome was not built in a day and so is solving crossword puzzles. You need to start with a level that you can almost solve completely. Most of the crossword publications usually indicate the level of difficulty. This way, you will be able to gain confidence as you learn something new with each puzzle. Eventually, you will be ready for a more difficult level.
2. Memorize Most Commonly Used Words
There are certain words that appear frequently. While some are not familiar with many people, others are well known but are usually clued in an obscure way. Learning the various meanings of these words and memorizing will help you get the answers quickly.
3. Use Crossword Solving References
In case you are stuck, use one of the many resources available to get the crossword puzzle answers. Such resources include websites, dictionaries, books, and software. Once you find the answer, learn more about words and memorize so that you can know where to use it next time. You can also seek help from a friend as they might know things that you don’t know.
4. Learn about Cluing Conventions
Crossword puzzles follow certain conventions that can steer you towards finding the correct answers. For example, a clue and answer must agree in a grammatical manner. A clue will always match the tense of the answer. Likewise, if a clue is plural, the answer must be plural. The same case applies for clues with comparatives, superlatives, abbreviations, slangs and those with foreign words.
5. Take a Break When Stuck
When you are stuck, leave the puzzle and indulge in another activity. The brain also gets tired, and taking a break may help to clear and refresh your mind. The brain is also said to work subconsciously on the problem. You might be surprised when you come back and crack the clue.
6. Keep an Open Mind.
It’s very important to keep an open and flexible mind when finding the answers. Always check the clue from all angles. In case you are not sure or you cannot get something to fit around it, there are high chances that it could be wrong. In such a case, revisit, analyze and erase if it's incorrect.
7. Practice, Practice and More Practice
The more you solve crosswords, the better you get at it. Once you learn an answer and find out the various ways it can be clued, you can be sure to spot it again
Solving a crossword puzzle may not be easy at first. Try these skills and then work your way upwards. Once you keep on solving, it will get better and easier.