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Online Crossword Puzzles

Online crossword puzzles offer new ways to enjoy a widely popular pastime.

Online crossword puzzles are modeled after traditional examples. [©Jupiter Images, 2010]
©Jupiter Images, 2010
Online crossword puzzles are modeled after traditional examples.

Online Crossword Puzzles

For people who like the challenge of completing a daily crossword puzzle in the newspaper, they may find a new love in online crossword puzzles. There are several Web sites where people can go to fill out crossword puzzles and other word games.

Different Types of Online Crossword Puzzles

Crossword Puzzles is a British site that links to other Web sites that people can visit for online crossword puzzles. Different puzzle categories are American crosswords, cryptic crosswords, educational crosswords, themed puzzles, and other crosswords and collections.

American crosswords are the type of crossword puzzles found in most American newspapers such as The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post. These puzzles provide straightforward clues for answers that can go either up or down in the crossword puzzle. Similar to paper and pencil puzzles, people plug in their crossword answers using their mouse and keyboard with online puzzles. Some of these puzzles have a fee, such as The New York Times puzzles, which cost $39.95 for a yearly subscription or $6.95 for a monthly subscription.

Cryptic crosswords are puzzles where the clues are actually mysterious. There is a pattern or double meaning to the clues that the person working the crossword must figure out before he or she can discover any of the answers for the puzzle. Each clue is like its own puzzle in an online cryptic crossword. These clues can use wordplay such as anagrams, homophones, puns, charades, reversals, and hidden words. Cryptic puzzles are especially popular in Great Britain.

Educational crosswords come in all shapes, sizes, and themes. On Language Games, a student can practice foreign language skills in French, German, Spanish, and Italian with a series of online crossword puzzles. Crossword puzzles about Bible verses, stories, and themes are also considered to be educational puzzles. Many of these educational sites have crossword puzzles to fill out online or to print off and fill out the traditional way.

Themed puzzles are favorites of many crossword puzzle lovers. The clues for these puzzles have a theme such as animals, television shows, movies, or holidays. CentralPets.com has an online themed crossword puzzle each day. On Musicroom.com, there is a monthly crossword competition.

Where to Find the Best Online Crossword Puzzles

BestCrosswords.com is one of the best Web sites to find online crossword puzzles. On this site, all the puzzles are free and play directly in the user's browser. They also have printable crossword puzzles for anyone who would be interested in doing them the traditional way.

One reason why this site is popular, besides the fact that the puzzles are free, is because each puzzle is also rated for popularity and difficulty. The rating system is a set of five stars. Puzzles are also marked new and with the date.

BestCrosswords.com also has competitive puzzles. A user signs up for a free account, and then he can tackle one of seven new American-style crossword puzzles each day. Players can submit their scores for daily and monthly rankings. Detailed scoring information is on the Web site.

Thinks.com is another site that many people use for free, family-friendly crossword puzzles. This site also offers a daily crossword puzzle.

Games Magazine, a popular traditional puzzle magazine, also has an online version that offers some crossword puzzles in different ability levels and themes. These are American-style crosswords.

Challenging Crossword Puzzles

Some of the most challenging online crossword puzzles are cryptic crosswords. Cryptic crosswords are naturally difficult because the clues have to be figured out in addition to the answer to the clue. If the person filling out the crossword puzzle cannot figure out the wordplay in the cryptic clue, then it will be impossible to solve the online crossword puzzle. People who are taking on the challenge of a cryptic crossword expect the clues to be hard to figure out and not straightforward like American-style crosswords. Some people, however, enjoy knowing that the answer to the cryptic crossword clue is definitely correct; unlike the American-style where there could be several possible answers.

The New York Times is known for having some of the most difficult crossword puzzles around. With a premium subscription to their crossword puzzles, a subscriber will get access to over 5,000 New York Times crossword puzzles and the ability to save partially finished puzzles. They also have online-only bonus puzzles available to subscribers.

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