How Do You Make a Crossword Puzzle?

How Do You Make a Crossword Puzzle?

The easiest way of making your own crossword puzzle is to use one of the many crossword-generating programs available on the web. However, it can be also done manually with grid paper, a pencil, an eraser and lots of patience. The hardest part in either case, is coming up with your own clues and answers.

  1. Decide what style of grid to use

    While there are different types of grids, a standard American-style puzzle features solid blocks of white squares mixed with a sparse array of black squares. The black squares are laid out with rotational symmetry, meaning the pattern of black and white appears the same even if the puzzle is turned upside down. An interesting array of black squares can enhance the visual appeal of a puzzle.

  2. Start filling in answers

    Begin filling in the white squares with possible answer words and phrases. Be sure you are creating valid words in both the horizontal rows and the vertical columns. If you have a particular theme involving longer phrases, begin with those phrases, and fill in the shorter answers to fit with them. Filling in answers is a process of trial and error, so keep an eraser handy.

  3. Write your clues

    Once you have a completed grid with all the answers in place, begin your list of clue questions. Deceptive clues make for a challenging puzzle, particularly clues that have several possible meanings depending on context. Puzzle makers often use puns and wordplay in their clues.

  4. Number your grid

    Every square that begins an answer gets a number, whether across or down. Numbers correspond to the listed clue numbers and are filled in sequentially left to right. Some numbers refer to both horizontal and vertical clues. Squares that do not begin a word in either direction remain unnumbered.