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How to Make Crossword Puzzles

Tips from our own expert

crossword puzzle cartoon writer

If you’re wondering how to make crossword puzzles, follow these guidelines.

1. Pick a theme. Most puzzlers enjoy solving puzzles that are based around an interesting topic such as movies, sports, music, an historical event, etc.

2. Pick the crossword design. Traditional puzzles, like the ones in most newspapers, use a solid grid with black spaces between words. At www.word-game-world.com, most of our crosswords do not follow this pattern. Instead, we’ve chosen to design puzzles in which every clue and word fits the theme of the puzzle. Because many of our visitors are students, teachers and people looking for a specific theme, we want to give them as many clues as possible directly related to the theme.

aqua pencil

3. Decide if you will make your puzzle by hand or online. You can actually plan a puzzle on graph paper, number the words, write the clues and type it into a word document. Using “Tables” in your word processing program, you can make a very nice-looking crossword. The process is a bit time-consuming, but it does work.

Most folks today use online software to make crossword puzzles. It makes the job so much quicker, and the results are usually excellent. We’ve used the free Eclipse Crossword software in writing many of our crossword puzzle games. It is easy to download and easy to use. When you’re done creating your puzzle, you have the options of saving, printing or making a web page of the completed work. Just be sure to follow each prompt as you go. There’s also a Help feature that really is helpful!

green and yellow question mark

4. Decide on the difficulty level of the clues. Will your clues be simple and straight-forward? Or will you use the more difficult cryptic clues?

5. Compile a list of words to be included in the puzzle and write a clue for each one. Note that clues should be concise.

6. Finally, construct the actual puzzle using one of the methods described above.

7. Proofread your puzzle. This cannot be emphasized enough. With online software, there will be no mistakes, unless you entered something incorrectly. If you entered spagheti as one of your answers, the crossword cannot be solved unless the solver also misspells spaghetti as spagheti.

Always, always print the crossword and solve it yourself before sharing it.

With these general tips on how to make crossword puzzles, you’ll soon be making some great activities for your friends, family and even for publication.

Looking for more ideas on how to make crossword puzzles?

If so, take a few moments to look at some of the crossword puzzles I've written for this website. You'll find fun, easy puzzles for kids and beginners, and all other levels up through some very difficult ones. Here are just a few of my favorites:

green road signs on a post

Road Signs - Follow the signs for a fun, easy crossword puzzle. Simply supply the message shown on the sign. Quick and simple for kids and adults alike!

Commuter Crossword Puzzles You shouldn't need a crossword puzzle dictionary to solve this, making it the perfect puzzle for commuters. Print out an extra copy or two to share with your co-workers.

Sports Cities  Find the hometown of teams from the NHL, NFL, MLB, and NBA.

US Vice-Presidents Crossword Test your knowledge of the history of the United States government and see how many vice presidents you can recall.

Hopefully you know have a good idea of how to make crossword puzzles. Why not start in right now by making a word list?

  1. Word Games
  2. Crosswords
  3. How to Make Crossword Puzzles
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