A crossword, a kind of word puzzle game, consists of a rectangular or square black and white grid. Sometimes, other colors are also used for making the gird. One has to fill up the white spaces with letters to form phrases or words using the given clues for solving the puzzle. The answers are written from the left side to the right side in the languages written left-to-right. Answers are also placed in a top o bottom manner. The black or dark shaded boxes in the grid for keeping the words and phrases separate from each other.

The squares where the answers start are generally marked by numbers. The clues for finding the answers are indicated by the numbers on the white squares such as "6-across" and "18-down". In some puzzles, the number of letters in the answer is given along with the clue. This rule varies with the type of the puzzle and the country where it is published. Sometimes, the total count of words in each phrase is given for the puzzles that have to be solved with phrases.

Crossword puzzle appeared for the first time in "Il Secolo Illustrato della Domenica", an Italian magazine on 14th September, 1890.


The vertical and horizontal rows of white squares in the grid of a crossword, which has to be filled with answers, are generally known as answers or entries. The clues are sometimes referred to as definitions. The white cells are often called lights while the shaded boxes are known by various names including blocks, blanks, darks, shaded squares and black squares.

A light or white cell is called keyed, checked or crossed if it is used in 2 answers (across and down). If a white square is a part of just 1 answer, it is called unkeyed, unchecked or uncrossed.


Types of Grid in Crossword

Crossword grids that appear in North American magazines and newspapers have wide areas of white cells. In these puzzles, every letter in the answers is checked and all the answer consists of at least 3 letters. In traditional North American puzzles, the dark squares are limited to around 1/6 of the design. Similar types of puzzles published in other places including Australia and Britain are created in a lattice-like structure. These crossword puzzles contain higher numbers of shaded squares and generally half of the letters in the answers remain unchecked. For example, the second row does not have any across answers if an answer runs across the entire top row.
Japanese crossword grids are designed by following 2 additional rules:

  1. No shaded square will share a side with another one.
  2. All the corner cells must be white.

Major crossword variants

There are many variants of common crossword that differ from the regular crossword puzzles by unusual clues and different grid shapes. The solving principles for these variants are different and the solving skill set required for solving them also vary. Following are the names of some popular variations of crossword:

Copyright (c) 2012 PLAYWITHBEB.COM. All rights reserved.