The Magic of Crosswords

My dad bought me a subscription to the “New York Times” crossword three months ago, and ever since then I’ve been obsessed. The magnificent wordplay for every clue, and the perfect fitting of words so that they all cross… it just felt so magical to me. So, when I discovered that the “NY Times” had published an article a few years ago on how to make crosswords like they do, I didn’t hesitate to indulge. I even spent $50 on the same software they use, and with their instructions, I began to construct my first crossword. It turns out, it’s much harder than one might think. I had to have the software fill in a lot of missing words (I couldn’t think of words that fit off the top of my head.), and my clues were all either impossible or super easy to figure out. However, once I started making more of them, I fell into a flow and was able to construct several crosswords that I thought were pretty good. Whether you’re looking to get into crossword solving or just struggling with this paper’s mini crossword, here’s a few tips that I’ve learned from filling in crosswords daily the past few months:

Plurals and Tenses: in any crossword, plurals and tenses are extremely important in clues. When reading a clue, be sure to note if the clue is asking for a plural of something – for example, the answer to “popular fast food burgers” could be WHOPPERS – note that the clue and answer are plural. The clue may also be asking for a certain tense – like “adore” and “adored” would be LOVE and LOVED, respectively.
Don’t spend too long on one clue: remember that solving other clues can fill in some blanks for the one that you’re stuck on. Try solving some other clues and then go back to yours once there’s already a few letters in place.

Take notice of how hard it is to get words that intersect, getting several words in the English language to all cross with each other is hard. Try to think of words that could fit with many others – words that include several vowels and popular consonants (OREO is a really popular one, for example)
Those are just a few helpful hints – but I’ll leave the rest of solving up to you. Good luck solving the crossword!

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