Some people think that playing crossword puzzles requires a high level of intellect and extensive vocabulary. But the truth is playing word fill-in puzzles is a learnable skill, and anyone can be good at it. All you need is a little bit of strategic thinking, some practice, and in time, you’ll be great at playing crossword puzzles.
Play every day
Swedish psychologist Anders Ericsson first developed the idea that practicing a certain skill for 10,000 hours will make anyone an expert. Now, you don’t have to do that if you want to be great at playing crossword puzzles, but it will certainly help if you play every day.
Playing every day will teach you to be resilient. It can even give you clues on how to play it better, like recognizing words that appear over and over or that filling in blanks with easy clues can make the game easier.
Start with easy puzzles
Many people get discouraged playing crossword puzzles because they started with difficult puzzles, which are daunting even to experienced players. So, if you really want to improve your game with these puzzles, start off with easier ones and work your way up to more difficult puzzles.
It’s quite useful if you already have extensive vocabulary in your head. But recently, people who create crossword puzzles have been including pop culture references, current events, history, geography, and even sporting events in the game.
So, in order to improve your game skills, read more books, magazines, newspapers, and any article you can find. One way to gather all your reading materials is to go online and check out news and entertainment websites.
If you make it a habit of reading something new every day, you’ll learn more about everything. This will make it easier for you to figure out the clues in crossword puzzles. Also, try to read up on matters that aren’t even popular topics. Some crossword puzzles feature obscure trivia that you’ll only encounter if you read an article that caters only to people with particular interests.
This may sound like cheating, but no one is omniscient. If you get stuck with a clue and you don’t do anything to find out what that clue means, then you will not progress. If a clue stumps you, don’t be embarrassed if you find yourself Googling it.
Many expert crossword puzzle players have admitted to using Google when they needed to figure out a clue. Crossword puzzle champion Howard Barkin said he often uses Google when he’s playing. Of course, he only uses it when he’s at home and not in an official tournament.
Don’t lose your cool
Finally, remind yourself that it’s just a game and that you should enjoy what you’re doing while learning from it. If you stumble now and then, don’t get mad or feel defeated. Rather, take it as a challenge that you will exert all your efforts to rise above it and be great in playing crossword puzzles.