What are Crossword Puzzles & Popular Clues?
For many people, the first thing they do when they get a newspaper or magazine is turn to the crossword. A crossword puzzle is a specially-designed grid with spaces for vertical and horizontal words. Each open square in the puzzle is the space for a letter. Along with the grid, there is a list of clues that will help you identify the words in the puzzle. Popular clues regularly come up in your favorite crossword puzzles. Their forms and variations can change from puzzle to puzzle, depending on the difficulty level and style.
Types of Crossword Puzzles
Because the crossword puzzle has been around for so long, several variations on the standard format have appeared. Different types of puzzles vary in difficulty and style.
The jumble puzzle often has a small crossword element as its first step. By solving the crossword clues, you are given a set of letters that you then unscramble for the final solution.
This English variation on the standard crossword is far more difficult than a standard crossword. The clues of a cryptic puzzle are more challenging and unclear. For example, this type of puzzle is more likely to use anagrams or other creative wordplays.
This kind of crossword is especially popular in magazines. The crossword clues may include definitions that refer back to content in the periodical and often contain answers to popular clues.
In this variation, a large part of the puzzle is taken up by a long, secret phrase. By solving the common clues, you will eventually have enough vowels and consonants to solve the longer riddle.
Popular Crossword Clues
A challenging crossword clue is part of the fun of solving these puzzles, but it may also be why you may need crossword help. If you choose a puzzle at an easy level, you may find that the answers to the clues are obvious and repeated.
In most puzzles, a winning strategy is to read through all the clues. As you solve more puzzles, you'll become familiar with some of the most common clues that come up repeatedly. These are often referred to as “repeaters.” Most of the most common clues are for words that contain a lot of vowels or trivia and tend to be shorter.
For example, the answer to the popular clue “A Japanese belt” is often “OBI,” a fantastic three-letter word ending in a vowel that's frequently used because it's a great connecting word on the grid. Other popular crossword clues include “ditto,” “Japanese farewell,” or “female sheep” - that's EWE to you.