A Crossword Puzzle is a grid of interlocking words or phrases laid out within a framework of black and white squares. In the top left-hand corner of the first square of each word – some horizontal (“Across”) and some vertical (“Down”) – is a number; sometimes these numbers apply to both an Across and a Down entry.
In the little example given, the answer to 1 Across is “Cattle” and the answer to 1 Down is “Cow”.
You will also be provided with a list of clues; and it is these clues which divide crosswords into categories.
A Definition or Quick crossword will use
clues resembling a dictionary entry for the word or phrase; for
example, 1 Across might be given as “animals
from which we get milk”.
A General Knowledge crossword would tend to
test your education; they often have lots of famous people and
place-names in them, and a clue for 1 Across might be “ruminant
quadrupeds of the bovine family”.
A Cryptic Crossword, on the other hand, will take the word “Cattle” apart, twist it, turn it inside out, throw in a bad pun or two, and present you with something like:
1 Across:Herd that Tom let stampede (6)
Confused? That’s the idea. But there are rules which compilers stick to, and which you can use to decipher the clue. We’ll have a closer look at them. You'll find the solution to this clue further on in this tutorial.
Now we’ll have a look at the different types of clue:
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