Initially, crossword puzzles were hand-made but open the invention of a software program in 1997, crosswords puzzles can be made by an individual on the computer. The easiest way of creating a crossword puzzle, then, would be doing it in a computer.
The first thing to identify when making a crossword puzzle, it is intention. Is the crossword puzzle intended just for personal use? Or is it made for friends and family? Crossword puzzles are also given as gifts, nowadays. The reason for answering these questions, it to make sure that you will be acquiring or purchasing the appropriate software that would cater to these needs.
American crossword puzzles have a set of standards that they need to follow. There are several grid sizes for a crossword puzzle: 13×13, 15×15, 17×17, 19×19, 21×21, and 23×23. The most common crossword size would be 15×15 and is generally accepted as the standard size.
You also need to remember that crossword puzzles are symmetrical. The number of black boxes in the left corner should also be the same with the number of black boxes in the lower right corner. Also, two letter words are not allowed and three letter words should not appear frequently in the puzzle.
Another rule is that unkeyed words or words whose letters are not interlocked with an across and a down word are not allowed. So every letter square should be a part of an across and a down word. Another rule is about word duplication. There are words in an expression should not share with another word used in a puzzle.
If you intend to have the crossword published, then you have to be familiar with the number of black boxes that publishing companies allow to appear in the crossword. With Simon & Schuster, they prefer that about one- sixth of the total number of grid squares in black.
There are publishers who do not declare any specific number. But normal number of black boxes would be about one-sixth. If they see that there are too much black boxes in the puzzle, they may think twice of buying or publishing the puzzle.
There are crossword puzzle makers who draw up a list of theme words or phrases first. Then they would be sorted out according to their length. This practice makes it easier for the crossword makers to think of words and develop questions or hints about the words.
There are also different practices for some crossword makers. Once they have identified the theme and have come up with some long words, they would fill in the grid with the words and then think about the clues afterwards. While there are some who would create the clues first before completing the grid.
In the process of completing the puzzle, there would be times when you would have to encounter weird and unacceptable words. This is perfectly normal. You can use entertaining words to make your crossword witty and fun.
If you have decided to create a crossword puzzle with the help of a software, then there are free crossword puzzle makers which you can try using. There are crossword making software which could be purchased in a lower rate. There are software for making crosswords for publishers.
If you intend to have your crosswords published, then it would be best to avoid using them or publishing them on your own. Avoid using them even in your personal page since they can affect the publisher’s interest. Most publishers would like to buy puzzles where they can have all rights. And also, there are some crosswords who are experiencing trademark problems.
Try to avoid using words with trademark in your crossword puzzles.