An Amateur’s Guide to Crossword Construction

An Amateur’s Guide to Crossword Construction

Are you hopelessly addicted to online crossword games? Do you love anything and everything related to them? Do you think you are a master at solving crosswords? Why not try to construct them yourself? Isn’t that a great way to elevate your love for crossword puzzles?

While you may be an expert at solving crossword puzzles, designing them is a different scene. It is no child’s play. The construction process is much harder than the toughest clue you have ever encountered. It requires hard work, creativity, vision, and unyielding determination. Are you still interested in creating your own crossword? Well, let’s educate you on all the intricacies involved in its construction process. 

Here is everything you need to know to construct your first crossword puzzle game.

Always start with the theme.

Crossword constructors are often asked where they start. Do they begin with the grids or the clues? The answer is NO. The first thing that you need to do as a crossword constructor is to think of a relevant theme because a theme is the puzzle’s “calling card.” And it is this first step that will guide you through the entire process. The entire puzzle needs to be connected to the theme by some kind of wordplay or semantic relationship.

Themes have to be new, interactive, narrowly defined, and consistently applied throughout the crossword. Remember that a theme is the heart of every crossword puzzle, so this is something an aspiring crossword puzzle constructor should master first. Every clue needs to be relevant to the theme in some way or the other. It is crucial to choose a theme that has multiple facets and sections. It will help you create better questions/clues for the crossword puzzle games. Bible, history, geography, and patriotism are some common themes crossword constructors often use.

Let your mind wander and discover what comes up next. Come far from basic and initial ideas. Are there any words or phrases in your mind today that you can start with?

The Skill of Word-Weaving

The next step is to list all the words you want to use in your crossword. It can be something incredibly simple having that gimmick. If you think this step will be easy, it is much more complicated than it seems. Keep the theme in mind and jot down all the relevant words you can think of. You must ensure that the words are not too common and easily deciphered. Well, make it challenging for the player to find the word.

Filling the grid is a great opportunity to portray your personality as a constructor. Use unique, eccentric, long, short, and interesting words. Try often-used letters, as they will be relatively easier to crack. The player should go ‘Ahaa’ when they actually find the right answer.

Create the clues

Now the real fun begins! This is an interesting stage where you create a clue for each word. The clues are generally simplified in a small sentence. Either go for simple clues or cryptic clues but don’t mix both of them together in the same crossword. You do not want your clues to reveal too much. It will ruin the entire fun of playing puzzle games online. Keep it short and simple. Take the help of an online thesaurus and look for something similar that will help. You have to think of answers that will give the maximum flexibility. It should be intriguing and captivating to the player. You can create clues directly pointing to the word or indirectly connecting them both. Interestingly, the theme becomes apparent only when the solver has filled in a couple of answers. Make sure you follow all the rules of crossword constructors. Let your thoughts wander to the right places. Some of them are similar in language, tense, and grammar for both the clues and the answer.

Ensure that your constructed crossword fills like a dance: one step ahead, two backward, and maybe a few to the other side.

Design the grid

Once you have fulfilled all the above-mentioned tasks, it is time to design the grid. Design the grid by writing entertaining clues and placing all the words in them. Steer your solver back and forth if need be. Here the emphasis is on wordplay. Blacken out all the unused spaces left behind. Make sure all the letters correspond both across and down the word. Some countries allow hanging words while others want their grid to be perfect squares.

Remember that enticing and well-crafted crosswords always appeal to a broader range of audiences.  There you have it. Once you are done, you will have created your first crossword puzzle ever. Follow all the steps and create an exciting and entertaining crossword puzzle today!

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