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Crossword facts for kids

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A crossword, or crossword puzzle, is a popular type of word puzzle. A crossword is made up of black and white squares (called a 'grid') and a list of clues.

The answer to each clue is a word or phrase. The aim is to write the words letter-by-letter in the white squares. The white squares go "across" or "down" the page. Each clue has a number - for example "1 Across" or "15 Down".

American crossword
A crossword puzzle

There are many types of crosswords. Straight (or Quick) crosswords are usually made up of simple definitions - which means that other words are used to describe the answer. Some crosswords use riddles and word play and are usually more difficult than straight crosswords.


Here is a small example of a (British-style) straight crossword:

1   2    
3       4


1. Sheep sound (3)
3. Neither liquid nor gas (5)
5. Humour (3)


1. Road passenger transport (3)
2. Permit (5)
4. Short for "Dorothy" (3)

The solution (answer) to this crossword is:

1B 9A 2A . .
9U . 9L . .
3S 9O 9L 9I 4D
. . 9O . 9O
. . 5W 9I 9T

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