How to Solve Crossword Puzzles

Crossword puzzles can help build your mind and improve self-control, language skills, and confidence.


  • Step 1: Start with easy clues across Solve the easy clues first, starting with number one and moving 'across.'
  • Step 2: Now move down Begin with number one in the 'down' category and answer all you can in the first pass.
  • Step 3: Connect intersecting words Progressing from the puzzle's top left, fill in words that intersect with already completed answers.
  • TIP: Words that contain a lot of vowels are used frequently in crossword puzzles.
  • Step 4: Take breaks Take a break periodically. If you try too hard, the obvious can seem unintelligible. When you return to the puzzle, note how quickly some answers occur to you.
  • Step 5: Check for anagrams Check for anagrams in clues. Anagrams show up through descriptive terms or names that must be rearranged to divine the intended answer.
  • Step 6: Use the puzzle theme Use words associated with the title of the puzzle.
  • TIP: Work with a friend – sometimes two heads are better than one when solving a crossword puzzle.
  • Step 7: Fill in the rest Continue filling in answers, moving left to right and top to bottom.
  • Step 8: Practice and get better Practice crosswords to get better. The more puzzles you do, the more familiar you'll be with standard puzzle clues and answers.
  • FACT: People who work on crossword puzzles more than four times a week may be less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease.

You Will Need

  • A crossword puzzle
  • A pencil

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