September 19, 2006

Advice for newbies?

Wordplay garnered a lot of media attention for crosswords this year. Some weekly independent newspapers (like the Chicago Reader) run the puzzles that Ben Tausig and Matt Jones make—making crosswords more appealing to the young hipster crowd by offering something that isn't your father's Oldsmobile or your grandmother's crossword puzzle. Books like Crossworld and Gridlock heighten the interest in puzzles. Even the sudoku craze, which seems antithetical to crosswords, is luring more customers into the puzzle sections in bookstores.

So there are a lot of people who have just discovered that crosswords are cool, or have finally been motivated to work a little harder to see if they can't finish a puzzle now. If you could give those newbies one piece of advice about solving crosswords—about getting better at it—what would it be?