Crossword enthusiasts...

Have you ever solved a crossword puzzle by just the across or the down clues only?

I’ll move this to the Game Room, which is where puzzle discussions happen.

twickster, Cafe Society moderator and puzzle editor emerita

Yeah, I’ve done that before on easy-to-moderate difficulty puzzles, just for kicks. I doubt I could do it on anything harder than about the level of a NYT Wednesday puzzle, though.

Theres always a couple that leave you flat. The Detroit Free Press and News are 15 minute puzzles . They are no fun. But they would be the ones to try that on.

I did one in my head once, about 25 years ago. It was the Detroit Free Press, early in the week. (My wife sneered something like “well those are easy.” when I mentioned it five or ten years ago.)

Going briefly off-topic: that’s how I do the Jumble and Cryptoquote puzzles in the local paper. Doing them with a pen is trivial; doing them entirely in your head takes more work.

Back to the OP’s question: I haven’t tried it. I think I’d get stuck the minute I hit a question with multiple possibilities (category of gas: inert? noble?), unless I were allowed to infer answers by looking at the Down words being created.

Or “Old Russian ruler”, where you’re never sure if they’re using the CZ spelling or the TS spelling. Or the ever-classic four-letter “God of war”, where all you can do is put in the S at the end, and hope they’re not going Norse.

How difficult would you rate USA Today and LA Times? My paper, Grand Rapids Press, also publishes the LA Times puzzle on Saturdays.

I’m an average puzzler and I need the back and forth between across and down to complete a puzzle.

I’ll start with the across clues as far as I can go before I start with the downs… so far I haven’t been able to make it all the way through the acrosses before moving on to the downs.

How does this work, especially for the letters with the black square beside them? Are you just guessing at the interspersed letters? Or am I missing something?

And no, never tried it, let alone done it.

In American-style puzzles, all letters are checked (i.e. are part of both an Across answer and a Down answer), so it is possible to do what the OP is asking about.

I always assume TSAR. I don’t know if I’ve seen a puzzle with CZAR, but that would be a nice trick. Also, ARES would be much more common than ZEUS.

And also more common than THOR (since Chronos mentioned Norse, even if the Norse god of war is Týr).

And I have seen CZAR. And CSAR.


Another variation (I think I read about it in Games Magazine): you can only read each clue once. If you can’t fill it in right away, you just have to try to remember the clue until you can fill it in. I’ve done this successfully with some of the easier puzzles.

I’ve definitely seen CZAR (once just a week or two ago), and I think I saw ODIN as “war god” once, too (I mean, let’s face it, all of the Aesir were war gods). MARS and ARES are both common enough that you can’t be at all confident in either.

Ah. Cheers.

Sounds remarkably odd, though - I might need to see what they’re about.

This is what a typical American crossword looks like. The best ones, in my opinion, are the NY Times crosswords. The worst ones are the “easy” type crosswords which you tend to find at gas stations and airports, which often just end up having clues of fill-in-the-blank and synonym variety. What makes a crossword interesting and fun, once again, IMHO, is the quality of the clue writing. My favorite crosswords have a decent amount of pop culture and word play thrown into the clues (although standard American crossword convention does not allow for the type of wordplay involved in a British-style cryptic.)

It seems to happen a lot with the Dell crosswords. They try to change the clues, but for a given issue, if two letters are the same, it’s the same word regardless of the clue.

Thank-you many. I’ll give it a go tonight, although I’m somewhat intimidated that someone’s going to be getting careless with making sure that the 'U’s are in the right place and there might be some demarcation issues with the 'Z’s.

I’ve never tried. I enjoy doing a few across, a few down, all the way to the end. Maybe I’ll try on a GAMES magazine one-star puzzle…