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How to Get Better at Crosswords

The Basics of Word Search Puzzles

Almost everyone has some experience with word search puzzles. The words may be found in normal reading order (left to right), they may be backwards (right to left), they may be vertical (either top-to-bottom or bottom-to-top), and they may also be on the diagonals.

Any of the directions may show the word either backwards or running in order as you'd read it, making allowances for the orientation. For example, a vertical word found top-to-bottom may be considered as "normal," while bottom-to-top would be considered as "backwards."

Elementary and middle schools even hand them out to help kids with reading, quick word-spotting, and their spelling words. Of course, for the very young, the puzzles are simple, small grids.

As we get older, though, most of us who still enjoy word games like more of a challenge. The grids get larger; the unused, “in the way” letters become more frequent; the list of words to find is longer; and often multi-syllable or obscure words are used, as well.

One annoying trick used in more advanced puzzles is the placement of at least one other instance of the first three or four letters of a word placed somewhere other than the actual word, leading you to think you've found it, only to find you were fooled instead.

These tips are tricks that work for me. I hope you find them useful as well.

Tip 10: Experiment

Don't be afraid to experiment. As you go through the puzzle, particularly in phase one, while ignoring the word list, go ahead and try out oddball letter combinations that don't seem to be real words.

Try sounding them out to yourself. You may accidentally find a new word you didn't know before. For the most part, these will be words not in common usage. This is also true in crossword puzzles, where words like "ort," "erg," "gambol," etc., are tossed into the mix.

Also, some word search puzzle toss in words that are not really words, but an imitation of sounds, such as, "shh," or "psst." Abbreviations, such as "eta" or "etc" are also to be found. So don't be afraid to attempt selecting weird letter combinations.


4. Camping

Need some time away from society? Try camping. Is there anything better than escaping into the woods for a day or two? The answer to this question depends on what kind of person you are, but I am sure that it is hard not to enjoy spending time in the great outdoors. Ultimately, camping is about relaxing, completely unwinding, and forgetting the fast pace of your everyday life. It doesn’t require any physical fitness, and you don’t have to be an exercise enthusiast to do it, but in the end, your muscles will get worked, and you will benefit from it.

Most of all, this kind of activity offers great chances for socializing with others, whether it be your family or friends. It is also the perfect opportunity to prepare and eat some great food. Spending the evening by the campfire is a unique, unmatched, chill-out experience, and it will prepare you for the good night’s sleep that only nature can offer.

They triggerbonding if solved in a group

I mentioned collaborative cruciverbalism above. In plain words, it means working together in a group. The group may consist of cooperative couples, a band of brothers, a society of sisters, or a flock of friends. According to Lukits, working in a group will “improve the speed of thinking and talking.” Solving puzzles in a group can also strengthen social bonds.

Where to Play Crossword Games Online

Here’s a quick overview of the best free crossword puzzles that you can find online, either on mobile devices or your desktop. We recommend playing on a tablet; that way, it’s easier to read most crossword puzzle games. Free puzzles can be found with difficulties ranging from easy to hard. For instance, one can find pretty easy online crossword puzzles from USA Today, but if you really want a hard puzzle, pick the New York Times crossword on Saturday.

Remember that if you get stuck on your daily crossword, answers can be found easily with our clue-finder!

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Easy Crossword Puzzles for Preschoolers (Age Group 4-6 Years)

It is always best to start off with the development of important life skills early in life and as already mentioned; crossword puzzles are a great tool for many parents and teachers to help their child develop an interest in reading. Here are some easy preschool crossword puzzles that are best suited for your child:

1. Shape Names

There is more to shapes than squares, circles and triangles; something your child will soon learn with this fun crossword. It includes pictures of shapes, which your child will have to look at and complete the puzzle where a few letters from each shape are given as clues for your kids.

2. Food Names

2. Food Names

This crossword will introduce your child to the world of food and it comes with pictures that are numbered. Your child needs to simply look at the picture and fill in the name of the food and drink in the corresponding boxes. You can discuss the benefits of each food item with your child, their tastes and whether they are dessert foods or main meals.

3. Animal Name Puzzles

3. Animal Name Puzzles

We have different classes of animals like birds, reptiles, primates and mammals. Use animal crosswords to teach your child about the different animal species in the world. You can discuss the sounds they make, the food they eat and whether they are domestic animals or wild animals.

4. Guess The Colour

4. Guess The Colour

Our world is full of colours, and your child will need to learn how to identify different colours. Crossword puzzles that will help your child learn colours by associating them with objects that are commonly found in certain colours will make learning colours a lot of fun for your child.

5. Fruit Puzzles

5. Fruit Puzzles

Fruits are colourful, delicious and healthy and make some amazing desserts. Your child can learn the names of fruits, and you can tell him which of his favourite treats are made from them and what they are good for. The puzzle will give your child the first letter of each fruit as a clue so that your child will have something to go on other than just an image.

Keep an open mind

Crossword creators do love to create clues that confuse. They will often use words in a clue that will lead you down the wrong track. They could, for instance, use words that have two different meanings, such as bark, which could refer to the sound a dog makes or the outer covering of a tree. Try and approach every puzzle with an open mind and keep an eye out for the clever ways that the creator could be trying to trick you.

It is not a failure if you need to look information up

Remember, one of the purposes of completing a crossword puzzle is to keep the brain fresh and to learn a thing or two. It is, therefore, not a failure and you are not cheating in any way if you need to look some information up in order to complete a puzzle. You are merely learning something, whether that’s a new word to add to your vocabulary or a new piece of information that you didn’t know before. Plus committing new information to memory will help you become a better crossword solver in the future. Trust us, the same information does come up time and time again in crosswords, learning new things will help you solve future puzzles quicker. Never be afraid to consult a dictionary to find out a word, consult an atlas or use the internet to research a topic, it’s all part of building up your crossword solving skills.