Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat!

Happy Halloween! I hope you have a day full of fun treats...... like this Halloween themed crossword puzzle.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Crossword Puzzle People

I.M. PEI is todays Crossword Puzzle Person. He is a successful architect. He was born in Guangzhou, China and moved to the United States when he was 18, to study architecture.

You can see a picture of him and read more about his famous buildings on wikipedia.

Crossword clues about PEI usually mention architect or architecture along with his first two initials. Here's an example -

39 across Noted architect I.M.
(Universal Crossword, Fruit Cocktail, by Linda Hoffman, edited by Timothy Parker)

I first learned about PEI while doing the New York Times crossword puzzle. I put his name in my file of puzzle people. I'm glad I did because when I saw the clue above in a different puzzle, I knew the answer right away!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tricky Crossword Clue

When trying to solve a tricky crossword clue, use all of the information available.

24 across One of a storied threesome
(Universal Crossword, Fruit Cocktail, by Linda Hoffman, edited by Timothy Parker)

In this example, we know that it's one thing of three from a story. What stories do you know that involve threes.....
  • the three little pigs
  • the three musketeers
  • Goldilocks and the three bears
  • The three little kittens (who lost their mittens)

Do you know any more? Do any of these fit the space for the answer?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Foreign (Cross)Words

52 across So long, in Paris
(Universal Crossword, Fruit Cocktail, by Linda Hoffman, edited by Timothy Parker)

In America, we say so long, good bye, see you later. In Paris the say.......

Here's a hint they speak French in Paris. Use a English-French dictionary if you need to.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Crossword Connection

48 across A-E connection
(Universal Crossword, Fruit Cocktail, by Linda Hoffman, edited by Timothy Parker)

The biggest part of answering a crossword clue is figuring out what it's asking. In this case, the word connection in the clue above is simply asking what connects A to E. What connects the letter A to the letter E? A _ _ _ E

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fill-in-the-Blank pt. 2


Just to see if you were paying attention to yesterday's post here's another fill-in-the-blank clue for you to try. Good luck!

30 down word with "doll" or "bag"
(Universal Crossword, Fruit Cocktail, by Linda Hoffman, edited by Timothy Parker)

Thursday, October 23, 2008


18 down Kind of rug or code

How do we go about answering this clue? Let's take a look - we have 2 words, rug and code, that have something in common. They both have one word in common, one word that will be our answer. It's a kind of rug and a kind of code.

In this situation I like to play fill-in-the-blank. I write down on a piece of paper each word with a blank in front of it. like this ...

_____ rug
_____ code

Then I think of words that could go in the first blank and then try them in the second blank. When I find a word that works in both and is the same number letters as my answer, I pencil it in the grid.

for example,
I think of shag rug
now fill it in the second blank....
shag code
right number of letters but what the heck's a shag code. I'll have to try again!

hmm.... what's another type of rug ..... do you know? Is it also a type of code? See if you can figure out the answer.

PS - you can start with types of codes and test it on types of rugs second.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Crossword Puzzle Themes

Some crossword puzzles have themes. A theme is a set of clues that are related to one central idea.

One myth about theme puzzles is that all of the answers will be related to the theme. This might be true for themed Criss-cross puzzles, but not for Standard American-style Crossword puzzles. Theme clues and answers for Standard crossword puzzles are usually limited to 4 or 5 of the longest entries in the puzzle.

So, what's the big deal about themes? Themes are fun! It's like a brain teaser inside of the puzzle. If you figure out the theme before you finish the puzzle it can help you answer some of the other themed clues. (and that can help you answer other clues which can help you finish the puzzle!)

Here are the theme clues for Universal Crossword, Fruit Cocktail, by Linda Hoffman, edited by Timothy Parker. Try to figure out the theme. The title gives you a big hint.

17 across Lump in one's throat

56 arcoss "Maybellene" singer

11 down Head honcho

32 down Plaster ingredient

Crossword Notebook

This blog is sort of a Crossword Notebook. It's a place where I can keep notes about things I've learned while doing crossword puzzles. Things that will make me a better puzzler in the future.

You can do the same for yourself. You can use a notebook or whatever system works for you. When I'm not blogging, I use index cards to write down crosswordese, puzzle people, or other crossword clues I want to remember. That way I can keep similar clues together and it's easy to look up information when I need it.

Try it for yourself!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Crossword Compass

Compass points come up often in crossword puzzles. But since 3 letters is the smallest word a puzzle can have, there are only 8 possible choices - NNE, ENE, ESE, SSE, SSW, WSW, WNW, NNW. If you are lucky, the clues gives you some information to help you narrow down the choices even more. Use the picture above or try to picture the compass in your head to help you figure out the answer.

Here's a clue that points to the right answer -

20 across 180 deg. from wsw
(Universal Crossword, Jingle All The Way, by Lizzie Swathmore, edited by Timothy Parker)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Free On-line puzzles

Looking for a new source of crossword puzzles? I found this site called Boatload puzzles. They say they have over 40,000 puzzle to try on-line. I'll have to take their word for it because I lost count after 439. You can play on-line or you can print them out.
Click here >>>>>Boatload puzzles

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Crossword Puzzle People

Today's puzzle person is PELE.

PELE was one of the greatest all-time soccer players. He was originally from Brazil and that is where he started his soccer career. Later he moved to the United States and played for the New York Cosmos.

Crossword clues about PELE use words like Brazil, soccer, football, legend and champion.

Here are some examples -
36 across Brazilian sports legend
(Universal Crossword, Math Class, by Mary Genary, edited by Timothy Parker)

12 down Old Cosmos great
(New York Times, June 10, 2008, by Barry C. Silk, edited by Will Shortz)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tricky Clue

Our clue of the day has a ? at the end. You know what that means - Put on your thinking caps! Doing a crossword puzzle is like solving a brain teaser. Constructors try to trick you by using words in different ways. Tricky clues are hard but they can be funny when you figure them out.

18 down Bolt with no threads?
(Universal Crossword, Fighting Words, by Marsha Handley, edited by Timothy Parker)

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Today's Crosswordese is AIL. It's what will happen if you eat too much candy this Halloween. It is a verb meaning to cause pain or trouble to or to feel pain or be ill.

Here are some clues for AIL (with one trick thrown in)

4 across Feel lousy
(Kappa The Original Easy Crosswords Double Issue, volume 73, puzzle #1)

58 across Not well
(PennyPress Easy Crossword Express, v.117, puzzle #52)

16 across Feel off
(Universal Crossword, Body Language, by Mason Lorry, edited by Timothy Parker)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Roman Numeral Crossword Clue

57 down 251, in old Rome
(New York Times, Oct 13, 2008, by Lucy Gardner Anderson, edited by Will Shortz)

Analyze the clue - We have a number and the phrase "in old Rome." So, the clue is asking how we would write 251 if we lived in Rome way back in olden times. That part is easy right, we would use Roman Numerals. The hard part is figuring out the Roman Numerals! Click on the drop boxes below if you need a hint.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm back with some crossword tips

I'm back from vacation and back to doing crossword puzzles. I like to do the New York Times Crossword puzzle but I don't want to pay $1.50 everyday so I thought I would share this tip with you. Instead of buying the newspaper just for the crossword puzzle, I go to my local library. I make a copy and do the puzzle at home. The copy machine only costs me 10 cents and saves the clean puzzle for everyone else. It's a great way to do the crossword puzzles from the newspapers.

Here's another tip - the New York Times crossword puzzle gets harder as the week goes on. Monday is the easiest and Saturday is the hardest. (Sunday is the biggest but not the hardest puzzle.)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Crossword Break

I'm going on vacation. I'll be back next weekend with more posts. Keep doing crossword puzzles until I get back!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Crossword Clue Connections

What does this picture have in common with yesterday's post about President Eisenhower?
They are both named IKE.

This picture is of Hurricane IKE that came through the Caribbean and made land fall in the United States at Texas in September 2008.

Crossword Constructors like to find new ways to clue common answers. Hurricane IKE is something that was recently in the news and recently in the New York Times Crossword puzzle!

34 across Hurricane of 2008
(New York Times, September 30, 2008, by Allan E. Parrish, edited by Will Shortz)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I like Crossword Puzzle People

Who is that man in the photo?

It's President Dwight D. Eisenhower. But his friends call him IKE.

I like IKE. Why? Because he's on my no-brainer list for Crossword clues. Is IKE on your no-brainer list? Here are somethings you should know about IKE -
  • He was the 34th President of the United States
  • His supporters wore buttons that said "I Like IKE"
  • He ran against Adlai Stevenson
  • Camp David, the presidential retreat, is named for his grandson.
  • He was General of the Army in World War II

Sample clues -
39 across Adlai's opponent in '52 and '56
(New York Times, by Leonard Williams , edited by Will Shortz, Sep 17, 2008)

52 down Gen. Eisenhower
(Kappa The Original Easy Crosswords, vol. 73, puzzle #1)