What You Can Do When Stuck on a Crossword Puzzle Clue

Crossword Puzzle

For many people, playing a daily crossword puzzle is one challenge they love to accomplish every day. After they receive the newspaper and read it, they’ll head onto the crossword puzzle for daily brain-stretching. It has become part of their daily routine. They pride themselves on every crossword puzzle they’ve ever finished and aim to complete all that they can.

Some people wait for newspapers, while some buy crossword puzzle books with hundreds of crossword puzzle collection pages. Some books focus on specific categories, while some randomly fit words together. In the modern-day, you can solve crossword puzzles with your gadgets such as smartphones, tablets, and gaming devices. This allows you to play the puzzle anywhere and at any time. It’s a fantastic game to play when you’re bored, stuck on a long trip, waiting in line, and such. The New York Times even made all their crossword puzzles for over twenty years available through an app they developed called New York Times Crossword.

Crossword Puzzle

The crossword puzzle’s history goes as far as the 19th century when it was first used for children, although the ones found in their puzzle books are of the most straightforward kinds. More than children’s puzzle books, these were also published in various periodicals. It was only when the crossword puzzle reached the United States that it became a serious past-time for adults. It started when it was published by “Fun”, a New York World’s Sunday supplement, way back on December 21, 1913. There were various mental exercises before, but it seemed that crossword puzzles became the one that the public enjoys the most.

Ten years later, almost every leading American newspaper included a crossword puzzle for their publications, until nearly every daily newspaper from Great Britain and the United States published a crossword puzzle in the papers.

Crossword puzzles are a type of word puzzle where a diagram is filled with squares that are blank or cancelled. The cancelled squares can come in the form of shaded, crosshatched, or black squares. The empty or white squares are numbered, and these signify that there is a word you need to think of to fill the blank squares. Every crossword puzzle has a list to guide players. It contains the definition of the word you’ll need for every number. Words can connect, interlock, or cross, so the puzzle became known as a ‘crossword’.

As mentioned above, the words can have categories or be at random. Although crosswords are a delightful puzzle, it can get extremely challenging, especially when you don’t know the theme, and categories can be anything under the sun. There are also difficult crossword puzzle themes, such as some of the New York Times’s crossword puzzles containing words that can be found on the news and such.

What you can do when stuck

Considering how some crossword puzzles can be tricky, there will always be times when we get stuck on a crossword puzzle clue. If it’s from a category you don’t know much about, it can wrack your brains out and make you spend hours thinking of the word, only to end up with nothing. Most people’s purpose in playing crossword puzzles is to relax and have fun. Being stuck on a clue can take away your chances of enjoying the game and add to your stress. To free yourself from frustration, you can use a crossword helper to unveil the word you’re looking for and finally finish the game or move onto the next numbers.

Here are some of the tips you can follow when stuck on a crossword puzzle:

  • Cross out each clue you’ve already solved.

The first thing you should do when you get stuck is to check off the clues that you’ve already got a final answer to. This helps you focus on the clues remaining and block out anything that can confuse you. More so, when you cross out other clues you’ve finished, there is a sense of accomplishment you’ll be able to feel as you see your progress in the puzzle. This is important so you won’t feel frustrated immediately and overthink through the game with the clue you can’t seem to figure out.

  • Solve the fill-in-the-blanks first.

You should start with the easiest clues first, and fill-in-the-blanks items are among the most manageable problems. More often than not, you’ll be able to get a definite answer to these clues right away. If it’s not the fill-in-the-blanks, simply answer what you find the easiest so you can have the letter from the words you already solved as clues besides the definition.

  • Refer to sources

Dictionaries, encyclopaedias, and other credible books are great resources for solving crossword puzzles. It’s beneficial to have a thesaurus, almanack, atlas, and quotation resources on hand. Don’t just type in a clue in a search engine. You should look for quality sources and crossword helper websites that can truly help.

  • Get help

Sometimes you just have to accept it when you can’t solve a number. In these cases, it would be best to ask for help from your family members or friends. You can make crossword puzzles a social experience. Some families make it a bonding time to answer the puzzles together.

  • Look out for plurals.

Some clues indicate that the word you’re looking for is in plural form. Using a pencil, write the letter ‘s’  the blank spaces for the words with plural clues. Not always, but more often than not, the ‘s’ is correct and would help as a clue for other words.

  • Take a breather

When the fun in solving the puzzle runs out because it starts to get frustrating and feels like work, take a break and continue answering later when you feel like it again. Sometimes the stress can make us overthink. You might be able to think of the answer later after taking a hiatus.

Crossword puzzles have endured over the years as one of the staple parts of newspapers and people’s lives because of how fun taking the challenge is. It’s a test of vocabulary, knowledge, wit, and familiarity with pop culture and general knowledge. Keep the fun in crossword puzzles by accepting help from others and crossword helpers and move on to having fun with other numbers to solve.

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