Solving crossword puzzles is a pastime that has numerous benefits. Apart from being entertaining, the activity also helps to sharpen your concentration, increase your vocabulary, and improve your memory.
If you’re a crossword aficionado, you may enjoy perusing crossword puzzle blogs. You can subscribe to most of them for free and they’re a great way to pick up information on the etymology of your favorite words as well as tips for solving various types of crossword puzzle clues. Here’s a rundown of some of the best crossword puzzle blogs on the web.
The NYT Crossword Today Blog
The NY Times Crossword Today blog is a relatively new feature that drops two new blogs each week. Yours truly creates a bi-weekly blog that may cover anything from the origins of crossword puzzles, to how to solve various types of clues. The blog can provide a welcome break if you need to take a breather from your daily crossword puzzle. Keep an eye on this one, there will be a lot more to come.
Rex Parker Does the NY Times Crossword
Rex Parker claims to be “the greatest crossword solver in the universe,” at least when he’s co-solving with his wife. The couple won the prestigious title of Pairs Division Champions, in the 2017 Lollapuzzoola Crossword Tournament. What’s intriguing about this blog is that it shines a light on the techniques and thought processes that the Parker team uses to solve NY Times crosswords. It’s not only fascinating but also great for picking up tips to help you get your head around tricky clues.
XWord Info Blog
XWord Info provides a sizable database of articles related to the NY Times crossword. This includes puzzle tips and solutions, tools for crossword constructors, and bios on NY Times constructors. You can find just about anything you want to know about the newspaper’s crosswords and those who create them.
The LA Times Crossword Corner
The LA Times crossword has been running its iconic crossword puzzle for more than four decades. Over this time, it has pleased puzzlers with thousands of crosswords. The Crossword Corner is a blog that gives visual hints to the daily crossword puzzle’s themed and regular clues. For those of you who are really stumped, you’ll also find the solutions.
Big Dave’s Crossword Blog
This blog is a must if you enjoy the challenge of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph’s crosswords. The site hosts guest blogs offering tips and additional clues to the newspaper’s puzzles. This website draws novice and expert cryptic puzzlers. One of the main attractions is that it explains cryptic clues in plain English.
The Guardian Crossword Puzzle Blog
The Guardian is a British newspaper that has prints daily puzzles of varying levels. If you’re a fan, you’re sure to love their blog. Author Alan Connor takes a look at the week’s smartest and wittiest clues from the British broadsheets’ cryptic puzzles. The blog is entertaining and humorous and is great for anyone who’s trying to come to grips with the challenge of cryptic crosswords.
Crossword Constructor Resource Guide
Ever thought of having a go at creating your own crossword puzzle? Provided by the NY Times, the Crossword Constructor Resource Guide is here to help. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of designing a crossword with a pencil and paper, you’ll find a collection of online construction tools that will simplify creating a puzzle grid. The guide also provides word lists and online dictionaries to help you set clues. If you’re looking for advice on puzzle construction, there’s also a list of constructor forums and email lists. Once your puzzle is ready to share, you’ll find submission guidelines for the LA Times, Wall Street Journal, and Universal Crossword.
If you’re new to solving cryptic crossword puzzles, Crossword Unclued offers some great tips and explanations. Some examples of their blogs include “ABC of the Crossword Grid,” ” 5 Ordinary Words with Obscure Meanings in Cryptic Crosswords,” and ” Crossword Bloggers’ Jargon – Decoded!” The site has a searchable database, so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for.
Separated by a Common Language
Hosted by Lynne Murphy, a Professor of Linguistics at the University of Sussex, this blog takes an innovative approach to the language of crossword puzzling and language in general. The blog describes itself as “Observations on British and American English by an American linguist in the UK,” and Murphy’s observations are fascinating. Many of her posts include discussions of the subtle differences and nuances between British English and American English as they are used in everyday life.
Diary of a Crossword Fiend
This blog is created by a team of more than fifteen people, all of whom share a passion for crossword puzzles and language. Many of them are also crossword compilers. The blog provides links to some of the most popular daily online crossword puzzles, such as those from the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, and USA Today. The team of bloggers also enjoys writing delightfully informative blogs about past puzzles, their construction, and analyses of their clues.
Interesting Articles Related to Crossword Puzzles
If you know where to look, you can also find a pretty diverse range of blog posts and articles related to aspects of solving and compiling crosswords, some of them discussing aspects of the pastime that you may not have considered before. Here are some examples:
What it’s Like to Create Crosswords as a Black Woman
This article is by Portia Lundie, who has previously published crossword in the NY Times. The article, which appears in the Washington Post, discusses her perceptions and experience of being a minority crossword compiler.
How the Crossword Became an American Pastime
If you are curious as to how this popular puzzle started out, this article will enlighten you. Written by Deb Amlen for the Smithsonian Magazine, the piece describes the evolution of the crossword from its beginnings with Arthur Wynne in 1913, to the present day.
The Woman Behind the Crossword Puzzle Craze
While you may be familiar with Arthur Wynne, you may not have heard of Margaret Farrar. If you haven’t, this New Yorker article will tell you everything you need to know. No newcomer to crossword puzzle construction, Margaret became the first editor for the NY Times crossword in 1968.
Cryptic Puzzling: A British Obsession
Author Norman Mailer takes an in-depth look at the cryptic crossword, and why it’s so popular in the UK. The article explores not only the challenges of cryptic clues and how to tease out their solutions but also the joy of solving them.
The Spectacular Life of the World’s Most Powerful Crossword Editor
The NY Times’ Will Shortz has many claims to fame besides compiling and editing crossword puzzles. These include writing riddles for a batman villain, making a guest appearance on the Simpsons, and selling more than a million copies of his well-loved sudoku compilation. This Guardian article tells the story of his life immersed in crossword puzzles and his passion for the pastime.
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