If you are having trouble finding a word on a crossword puzzle, or just like to learn and prepare for future crosswords, our free online crossword solver will help you to find the answers you need.
How to search for crossword answers
You can find answers to your crossword in a couple of different ways. If you have a couple of letters from the answer, you can use a pattern, replacing any unknown letters with a question mark (?).
The question marks not only help us to find the missing letters, but you should also use them to tell us what the length of the word is.
To narrow your search down further you can also include words from your clue which we'll combine with your known answer letters and length to find the correct answer for you.
What are crosswords?
Crossword puzzles have been around for over 100 years and gained popularity around the world after World War I & II. A Crossword is basically a word puzzle shaped in the form of a square or rectangular grid of both black and white squares.
The shaded squares’ role is to separate words or phrases from each other, and the goal of the game is for the players to fill the white squares with letters that eventually form words or phrases. Each game has different clues that help the player decipher the correct answers.
A brief history of the crossword
The first mention of the phrase “cross word puzzle” appears in the U.S. children’s magazine “Our Young Folks” in 1862. Later, crossword-like puzzles like Double Diamond Puzzles made their debut in another U.S. children’s magazine named St. Nicholas in 1873.
In 1890, another type of crossword puzzle was developed by an Italian, Giuseppe Airoldi. The crossword puzzle included both horizontal and vertical clues, while the puzzle was a simple four-by-four grid with no shaded squares.
During the 19th century in England, crosswords became famous for children as they were printed in puzzle books and other periodicals. However, in 1913, Arthur Wynne, a soon-to-be-famous journalist from Liverpool, published a “word-cross” puzzle in the New York World newspaper.
Wynne’s crossword game would encompass and look very similar to our modern elements of the genre, and it is viewed by many as the first crossword puzzle in the world. These crosswords puzzles became a frequent apparition in the New York World newspapers capturing the attention of adults.
With the crossword puzzle becoming popular in the ranks of both children and adults, it quickly spread to other newspapers as a reoccurrence, such as in the Pittsburgh Press, 1916, and The Boston Globe, 1917.
During the 1920s, the phenomenon of crossword puzzles boomed, with libraries being stormed by people searching for dictionaries and encyclopedias to solve the word puzzle games. In 1925, Simon & Schuster, a publishing company, released the first book of crossword puzzles.
As the crossword puzzle boomed worldwide, it soon found its place among the most popular word games globally. Creative minds from different cultures, both men and women, contributed to its evolution, which resulted in various crossword types of games. Here are a couple of the most well-known types:
Cryptic crossword puzzle games are among the most challenging since their clues don’t have a literal meaning, but instead, they give hints of how the answers might be found. These hints usually form an excellent grammatical phrase. However, their meaning might not be related to the answer, and thus the clues are also hidden.
Codeword crosswords are similar in appearance to traditional crossword puzzles, having the same grid layout but with no given clues. In this type of crossword puzzle, the alphabet is replaced by numbers. To resolve this puzzle, players need to find out what number each letter has by deciphering the numbers on the grid. Usually, about 2-3 letters have their numerical values displayed.
This type of crossword puzzle is based on different themes. The clues aren’t straightforward, as they have misprints or twists that are related to the answer in the wordplay. Thematic crosswords vary in content and are fun to play if you don’t like codeword or cryptic crosswords and want something easier but still challenging.
The blocked grids type of puzzle is the traditional crossword puzzle. The grids have squares where the answer words end and black-shaded grid blocks mark the spaces between these words. The grids are usually 15 x 15 squares and contain around 30-32 answer words.
The barred grids crossword puzzles are indeed a brain twister. This type of game has more answers than a standard blocked grids crossword puzzle. In each square of the finished crossword, there is a letter that occupies a block, and these letters are then part of both Down or Across answers. Though the game is usually 12 x 12 grids, due to the cross-verifying answers, some puzzles may contain between 32-36 answers.
The arroword crossword puzzle is a variant popular in Europe. In this puzzle, black squares are fewer than in other crossword puzzles; however, there are arrows inside the grid with clues.
Known as cruzadex, the fill-in crossword puzzle features a list of words that are to be placed in the grid, yet, no clues help the player as to their position. This crossword puzzle has a longer word length than the traditional version. Players have to figure out how to correctly integrate all of the crosswords correctly so that the intersections of words are also valid.
Also known as skeleton crosswords in the U.K., diagramless crosswords have clue numbers and unspecified shaded squares. The grid offers the overall dimensions, but players have to answer both the answers to individual clues and how to fit partially built-up clumps of answers into larger ones and thus deduce the shaded squares. The symmetry rules are also abstract and left to the player’s decipherment.
How to play a crossword puzzle
There are plenty of crossword puzzle types of games, each with its own unique twists and rules; however, this is how the traditional crossword puzzle is played.
Get a wood pencil just in case you make mistakes, and an eraser. First, solve the fill-in-the-blank clues, as it will make it easier later. Now that you have a network of answers solve as many squares from it.
Start at the #1 square box, across, down, and proceed with the following box. Do this with every easy answer in the down and across boxes. Make sure that the answer words fill in the correct boxes.
Complete the puzzle based on the clues, and remember that each crossword puzzle usually has a thematic. Analyze the missing letters, try out different syllables, and see which letters fit with the crossing words.
Browse crossword answers by letter
The search option above is usually the best way to solve your crosswords quickly, but if you're not able to find what you're looking for and would prefer to search by the starting letter of your answer, you can use the links below to help you find crossword answers.