Improving Crossword Skills

8 Useful Resources for Improving Crossword Skills

For those seeking to enhance their prowess in solving puzzles and improving crossword skills, a variety of resources are available to provide guidance, practice, and insight into the art of puzzle-solving. Here are some valuable resources to help sharpen your crossword skills:


Numerous websites like PuzzleNation, Crossword Hobbyist, The New York Times Crossword, Boatload Puzzles, and Crossword Nexus offer tips, tricks, and strategies for solving crossword puzzles. Websites dedicated to crossword enthusiasts often provide solving guides, puzzle archives, and forums where solvers can share insights and discuss puzzle-solving techniques.


There are a plethora of crossword puzzle books available, ranging from beginner-friendly collections to advanced-level challenges. These books often include solving tips, themed puzzles, and variations on traditional crossword formats, allowing solvers to expand their skills and tackle puzzles of varying difficulty levels.

Useful Books and their authors:

  • “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Crossword Puzzles and Word Games” by Matt Gaffney
  • “Cracking the Cryptic Crossword” by Colin Dexter
  • “The Penguin Classics Crossword Puzzles” by Random House
  • “Simon & Schuster Mega Crossword Puzzle Book” by John M. Samson
  • “The New York Times Crossword Puzzle Dictionary” by Tom Pulliam and Clare Grundman


Crossword puzzle apps offer convenient access to a wide range of puzzles, allowing solvers to practice on the go. Many apps feature daily puzzles from reputable sources, including the New York Times, as well as additional puzzle formats such as cryptic crosswords and acrostics.

Common apps for polishing up Crossword Skills:

  • Crosswords With Friends
  • NYTimes Crossword
  • CodyCross
  • Word Crossy
  • One Clue Crossword

Online Courses

 Some platforms offer online courses specifically designed to improve crossword-solving skills. These courses may cover topics such as clue analysis, wordplay techniques, and strategies for tackling different types of crossword puzzles, providing solvers with structured instruction and personalized feedback.

Online Courses for Upgrading Crossword Skills:

  • Udemy: “Mastering Crossword Puzzles: Strategies and Techniques”
  • Coursera: “Crossword Puzzle Mastery: From Beginner to Expert”
  • Skillshare: “Cracking the Cryptic: Advanced Crossword Solving Techniques”
  • LinkedIn Learning: “Crossword Construction: Creating and Crafting Puzzles”
  • The Great Courses: “The Art of Crossword Puzzle Construction and Solving”

Puzzle Blogs

Many crossword enthusiasts maintain blogs where they discuss puzzle-solving strategies, analyze challenging clues, and provide insights into the construction of crossword puzzles. Following puzzle blogs can offer valuable perspectives and inspiration for improving your problem-solving skills.

Puzzle Blogs for Helping Crossword Skills:

  • Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword
  • Diary of a Crossword Fiend
  • Crossword Unclued
  • Wordplay: The Crossword Blog of The New York Times
  • Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Blog

Crossword Construction Software

For those interested in creating their own crossword puzzles, crossword construction software can be a valuable resource. These programs provide tools for grid construction, clue writing, and puzzle testing, allowing aspiring constructors to hone their skills and create puzzles to share with others. One notable piece of software for crossword construction and skill improvement is the Crossword Compiler. This comprehensive tool provides grid-building features, clue-writing assistance, and puzzle-testing capabilities, enabling enthusiasts to create and refine their own crossword puzzles.

Crossword Competitions

Participating in crossword puzzle competitions can be a fun and rewarding way to challenge yourself and improve your skills. Whether competing online or at live events, crossword competitions offer opportunities to test your abilities against other solvers and learn from experienced puzzlers.

Crossword competitions are held by various organizations and publishers, including:

  • American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (ACPT): One of the most prestigious crossword competitions, organized by Will Shortz and held annually in the United States.
  • The Times Crossword Championship: Organized by The Times newspaper in the United Kingdom, this competition attracts top crossword solvers from around the world.
  • The National Puzzlers’ League (NPL): This organization hosts crossword puzzle tournaments as part of its annual convention, which rotates to different locations each year.
  • The World Puzzle Championship (WPC): While not exclusively focused on crosswords, the WPC includes crossword-solving events among its various puzzle competitions. The location of the championship varies each year.
  • Local and Regional Competitions: Many cities and regions host their own crossword competitions, often organized by local newspapers, libraries, or puzzle clubs.

Community Groups

Joining crossword-solving communities and discussion groups can provide valuable support and camaraderie. Online forums and social media groups allow solvers to connect with fellow enthusiasts, share solving experiences, and exchange tips and advice.

Community Groups for Boosting Crossword Skills:

  • Crossword Puzzle Enthusiasts: This Facebook group provides a platform for crossword enthusiasts to discuss clues, share solving strategies, and collaborate on solving puzzles together.
  • Local Crossword Clubs: Many cities and towns have local crossword clubs that meet regularly to solve puzzles, exchange tips, and host events such as puzzle tournaments and guest speaker presentations.
  • Reddit Crossword Community: The subreddit r/crossword is a thriving online community where solvers can seek advice, share favourite puzzles, and participate in themed crossword challenges.
  • Crossword Puzzle Forums: Websites like Crossword Nexus and Crossword Heaven host forums where solvers can engage in discussions, ask for help with challenging clues, and share insights on puzzle-solving techniques.
  • Crossword Puzzle Meetup Groups: offers various crossword puzzle meetup groups across different locations, allowing solvers to connect with others in their area for in-person solving sessions and social gatherings centred around puzzles.

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