Sunday, June 30, 2019

Why I Love Crossword Puzzles (and Where You Can Find Free Online Puzzles)

We're crossword puzzle fans at our house, and we do them together. On most days, we settle in with a cup of coffee and collaborate on the daily Wall Street Journal crossword puzzle. We work together until we get close to the end. Then we have a fun competition to see who can fill in the last word. There have been some crazy rushes to finish. Holding several answers in one's head and then quickly dashing off three or four words in one shot is not unheard of (because writing down those answers helps the, spouse competitor, giving them clues they might not have had otherwise). Anyway, it's great fun, it helps improve vocabulary, keeps me up to speed on modern cultural references (and older ones), and even gives me a chance to use the French I studied years ago. I do sometimes wish I knew more about sports and maybe Italian and German as well. Those would help a lot.
newspaper crossword with eyeglasses resting on the newspaper

Our daily crossword competitions are done on paper, but there are many options online for people who also like crosswords, and some of them are free. Here's a smattering of the choices available. Note: if you're unfamiliar, some of these look like videos, and there may be an ad at the beginning, but the crossword will follow.

Click through to the puzzles at the links below:
Merriam-Webster Daily Crossword

The Guardian

The Washington Post

The L.A. Times

USA Today

AARP (and no, you don't have to be a senior or a member to play)

The New York Times crossword is, of course, the gold standard for crosswords, but it's not free (at the moment the monthly rate is $6.95 or $39.95 for a year). Also, it's really challenging and I'm not always up to the challenge (in the past, I've owned books of the New York Times Sunday crosswords).However, the paper also offers a daily mini (usually just 5 x 5) and that one is free. As it's timed, I enjoy trying to solve it in less than a minute. Sometimes I succeed. Other times...well, I still enjoy trying.
The New York Times mini crossword

Also, this page has some archives of the mini (the other one might, but I wasn't sure).

This, of course, is just a smattering of the puzzles out there (although I think these are some of the best). So if you're a crossword enthusiast, enjoy!

Best Wishes!


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