Crossword puzzles are just plain fun to solve, not to mention the great mental workout you get. If you're new to working crosswords, keep the following basic tips in mind:

  • Keep key resources, such as the following, on hand (whether in electronic or hard-copy form):

    • A dictionary

    • A slang dictionary

    • A thesaurus

    • An atlas

    • An almanac

  • Work in pencil. When you're an old pro, you may insist on working in pen to up the challenge.

  • The phrasing of the clues determines each puzzle's difficulty, and it may take a while to get familiar with a puzzle's particular phrasing.

  • Look for fill-in-the-blank answers first; most people find them among the easiest to solve.