You could go out and buy an expensive book of crosswords at a bookstore. But if you did that, you won’t be able to do your puzzles comfortably, and if you’re just starting out, you probably won’t end up doing them at all.
Instead, check out our free resources for finding crosswords - here, you can practice your hobby (no matter your skill level) without paying a dime.
First, check out your local newspapers
• There’s nothing quite like holding an ink-and-paper crossword while you’re relaxing or getting ready for the day.
• Writing your words is much more fulfilling than typing them on a keyboard.
• You can’t cheat for the answers - or at least, it’s much harder. (Crossword puzzle answers are finished in the next newspaper you receive.)
Newspapers are the “ideal” way to solve crosswords. You can find a directory of newspapers for your state here - some will be free. If you’re someone who would rather go the technology route, continue on for the best online resources and mobile apps for crosswords.
Looking for some easy free crossword puzzles to get started with? Check out the one offered by AARP - they offered it in their magazines for decades in the past and just recently expanded to offer unlimited puzzles online.
When you click the link above, you’ll notice that most of the clues are one or two words - this is a good sign. Usually, the longer the clue, the more difficult it is, though that rule is not set in stone.
As soon as the page loads, the timer on the right of the screen starts counting, so if you’d like to time yourself, start right away. (You can also compare your times down the line to see how quickly you’re improving your game.)
Boatload Puzzles (Intermediate)
Boatload Puzzles is one of the oldest online providers of crossword puzzles - there are over 40,000 in the database, and each one has been vetted by an editor to ensure you get nothing but the best of the best each time.
Here, you have the opportunity to change the size of your puzzle, too. You can select 13x13, 15x15, or 19x19. We would recommend 13x13 or 15x15 for intermediate players - a 19x19 has the potential to take you forever if you’re inexperienced.
Most of the answers for Boatload Puzzles are available on sites like OneAcross, so if you’re someone who doesn’t like struggling with that last clue, you’ll love playing here.
The New York Times crossword is considered one of the most difficult crossword puzzles for the general population - this means it’s extremely difficult, but not so hard to where only professional crossword puzzle players (yes, they exist) can solve it.
You can access the puzzle online by going here. You usually won’t find the answers to the NYT puzzle in the database, but because of its following, groups have sprung up here and there for help. One such group is here - you’ll need a Facebook account to participate.
Last but not least, if you have a smartphone or tablet, you can go onto your app marketplace and download any of these mobile apps. (We’ll provide links to them as well, but you have to be on a mobile device to actually play.)
iOS (any iPhone or iPad)
Crossword Puzzles! (with an exclamation mark) is our recommendation for Apple users. It’s free, there’s a clean, neat interface, and the buttons are big enough to easily press when you’re on the move.
Android (any smartphone or tablet running Android)
Crossword Puzzle (no “s” on the end) is our recommendation for Android users. It’s similar to Crossword Puzzles!, except this version is one of the most popular apps on Android on top of being our personal recommendation.
Now, you don’t have an excuse - if you’ve been wanting to get into crosswords or start doing them more, you have all of the free online and mobile resources listed above. Good luck and get solving!