How to build a crossword

Here's how to build a crossword for fun, to share with your friends, your class or your club – in seven simple steps

Step 1 – Language, theme and size

This is the fun part, as there are so many possibilities. You may have a theme in mind from the start, or you may be using the crossword as a teaching tool. Or how about a crossword based on a certain shape?

Usually the clues and answers of each crossword are in the same language, but this is not necessary. They can be in different languages, e.g. the clues in Afrikaans and the answers in Esperanto. Generally each crossword should be classified as the language of the answers. So, for example, if the clues are in English and the answers are in German, then set the crossword language to German.

Step 2 – Start building the crossword

Go to the Build crosswords page on PuzzleFoundry and click the “Create new crossword” button.

Choose the type, difficulty level, title and language for your crossword. Note, these settings can be changed later if you change your mind! Choose a “save” number from 1 to 9. You can work on and save up to 9 crosswords at a time. Crossword size is restricted to 21x21.

Now begin to enter your clues and answers, together with the row and column where each word starts. You can add more clues using the “Add a clue row” button. Check your crossword regularly using the “Display my Crossword” button. Start with some obvious words that match your theme or mood, step 3 will explain how you can find more words to fit into the crossword.

You can always delete clues by deleting the answer.

Tips –

  • Start in the corner and build your crossword from there, trying to keep it symmetrical
  • Ensure that your crossword density remains good by leaving only one blank space between parallel words.
  • Try to avoid using many short words. Use short words as fillers at the end.
  • Look at other people's puzzles for inspiration on crossword shapes

Optimum Method: Use the "place word" function

This function automatically places words in the most ideal location on your puzzle.

Select the "Expand puzzle" checkbox until the puzzle is the right size. This will allow the placement of words outside the displayed crossword panel.

You can also use the word template to find a word, and then do automatic placement with "Place word on puzzle".

Some puzzles are created with high density. Such puzzles, for example, have areas on the riddle where a 3x3 set of blocks contains only letters (no black cells). With such puzzles one must make invalid placements that only become valid with the crosswise placement of a word. Select the "Allow unresolved placement" option box for "invalid" placements in high density puzzles.

Step 3 – Find words using word pattern

The (word pattern and thesaurus search](/wiki/en/WordSearch) is provided at the bottom of the build crosswords screen. This is your most powerful tool to help find words that fit into your crossword. The word pattern enables you to search for all the words that match a certain configuration of letters.

For example you may need a seven letter word starting with “s” and with an “r” as the fifth letter. Seeking word pattern s???r?? finds the following words for you to chose from for your crossword: saffron, several, sheared, shearer, smeared, sparrow, spheres, spurred, squares, stirred, stirrer, stirrup, synergy

Go to the Search Wiki page for more information on other searches you can use.

Step 4 – Remember to Save

You can have up to 9 saved crosswords that you are working on at any time. Before you save your crossword, select a “save” slot between 1 and 9 (at the top of the page). Remember that re-using a slot will over-write any crossword saved to that slot previously.

The system checks for the crosswords errors when you save and will indicate clue errors on the right-hand side of your clues.

Step 5 – Test clues, test for errors

Test your clues with a friend, or put the crossword to one side and come back later to check if the clues still make sense. Note that most people tend to make the clues too hard …

When you save your crossword, the system checks if the puzzle conforms to crossword requirements. A message is displayed next to the clues when the word or clue does not comply with crossword requirements.

The system will not allow you to commit your crossword whilst it has errors. The system checks for the following errors:

  • two words crossing each other should have the same letter on the crossing square
  • A fundamental crossword rule is that every word that crosses another word needs a clue. Two letters shouldn't be adjacent to each other if they do not have a clue.
  • Word density (higher for normal and cryptic crosswords, lower for others - Puzzles with themes have a lower density requirement) – crosswords consisting of mainly empty cells cannot be committed
  • The crossword should not be the same or very similar to an existing crossword (this is to prevent the submission of duplicate crosswords)

Step 6 – Commit your crossword

You can edit a crossword as much as you like before you commit it. After you commit your crossword, the crossword becomes available to your friends and other members, and is no longer open for editing. So make sure that your crossword is ready before you commit it.

The crosswords you are working on will be listed on the “Build crosswords” page. When a crossword meets criteria for being committed (no errors, all words have clues, word density), it is given a “valid” status and a “commit” link appears next to the crossword status. Click on this to commit your crossword. The crosswords you have committed are also listed on this page, under “Your committed crosswords available to other members".

Full Members can adjust clues afterwards on their published crosswords. Full Members can also prevent their puzzles from being listed by the system.

Step 7 – Share your crossword

Any crossword that has been committed can be shared:

  • find your crossword using crossword search
  • click on the crossword to open and solve it
  • copy and share the link (URL) by email or on social media
  • your friends will be able to solve the crossword on-line

Crosswords can also be printed directly from the web browser (File -> Print)

The fine print

Under the Usage agreement, members agree not to create puzzles that are copyrighted.

Contact us if you have an issue

krisvan 2018-08-15 23h30

PuzzleMan