Crossword Clues and Answers

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Crosswords are one of the most widespread forms of entertainment in the world and started life as a paper format. The concept of these puzzles is quite simple and the title of this game is fairly self explanatory. Blank squares occupy a platform, usually consisting of at least 225 squares and these blank spaces criss cross, in which letters must be placed into each blank space in accordance with the clues given on the side of the page. The start of each sequence of spaces is signified by a number, to which a corresponding clue to the word is detailed in categories marked 'down' or 'across'. One letter of each word will form an element of another word and this letter will be positioned at either the start, middle or end of the previous word. Crosswords have developed in their difficulty over the decades and are now considered a very healthy form of neurological exercise.

A brief history of the crossword puzzle

Although the crossword is a relatively simple game, its history is fairly short and in England, dates back to around the end of the 19th century. The complexity of these puzzles was quite elementary to begin with, as they were initially intended for use by children during English lessons in school. Over time however, they started to become a popular and serious form of mental exercise for adults, especially in the United States. Arthur Wynne, a journalist from Liverpool, England, is that man most commonly accredited with the invention of the crossword and his first edition of this iconic word puzzle was published in a Sunday newspaper called the New York World on December 21, 1913. The first time a crossword appeared in any British print was in Pearson's magazine in February 1922. The structure and appearance of this crossword varied to what is commonly regarded as a crossword in modern times. The perimeter was a diamond shape and there were no internal black spaces present. The crossword started to become more and more recognised during the early 1920s and within another decade, different variations of this admirable past time were being published in almost every major American newspaper on a daily basis. Over the next ten years, the crossword evolved into a standard format and began to make its way back to European shores. By February 1, 1930, the increasing popularity of the crossword puzzle caused the editors of the Times to print it in their publications for the first time.

Once this word puzzle had gained popularity in Great Britain, wordsmiths up and down the country started to experiment with ideas and increase the difficulty of these games by using rarer words and more subtle clues and hints. The British worked strenuously on defining their own style of the crossword puzzle and before long, British crosswords were generally much harder to complete than their American counterparts. Cryptic crosswords became more mainstream and were soon to be one of the most popular neurological past times in Britain. Two men known as D.S.McNutt and A.F.Ritchie were the first to develop a roster of governing rules which have generally been adhered to ever since. These men were both gifted wordsmiths and mathematicians and could picture words in a geometrical pattern before creating incredibly vague clues designed to test the boundaries of wit on the human psyche. Over the decades, they have produced millions of challenging crossword puzzles between them and have painted a fluorescent picture of what is to be expected from a commendable crossword puzzle.

Different themes and styles of the crossword puzzle

As time has passed, variations of this game have been crafted and can include crosswords based on particular quotes, where the player must use the broken up segments of a famous quote to fill the grid. The compound theme is used fairly often within this puzzle and this is where the beginning or end of a word will precede a different word, which is listed in another area of the puzzle. Some of the most well known themes within the crosswords arsenal however include the synonym theme, in which every word in the crossword will mean practically the same thing. For example, EXCELLENT, GREAT, SUPERB, WONDERFUL and MARVELLOUS are all synonymous with the word GOOD.

Probably the most common of crossword varieties nowadays is the tribute or anniversary version of this puzzle. Christmas for example has many iconic attributes, some of which can be associated with other subjects; words such as SNOW, PUDDING, STOCKING AND PRESENT can all be implied with a clue which will have nothing to do with the Christmas period. Crossword puzzles will often be published in music or sports magazines to commemorate the death of a celebrity face, in which all words in the puzzle will somehow be related to this person. For example, words fitting coherently into a Michael Jackson crossword may include THRILLER, PRINCE, NEVERLAND, CONTROVERSY and FIVE. Again, all of these words can be hinted to via clues which would not exclusively refer to Micheal Jackson.

What else is available?

A kaleidoscope of other variations of the popular crossword puzzle have been developed too and more futuristic inceptions are constantly being designed by bookmakers and wordsmiths. The Simon and Schuster company are renowned for their innovative and unusual crossword puzzles and have explored almost everything that the parameters of wordplay can offer. Many of their puzzles have taken the form of poetry and puns, while others will play on spoonerisms and shifted letters. These crossword creators have also developed a range of crosswords which use metaphorical clues, as opposed to literal ones, a type of puzzle more suitable for a more educated audience. As the world of language continues to expand on a daily basis and the human mind becomes smarter and more adept to problem solving, crosswords will always experience a parallel motion with the times and will continue to become more complex and difficult to solve.