Looking at crosswords everyday, have you ever stopped and wondered how one creates such an interesting puzzle? Crossword puzzle makers often have their own style in making their puzzles but they do follow some conventions or established guidelines. Nowadays, there are software and various applications that create crossword puzzles automatically. You just need to input or fill out certain fields and application will create the puzzle for you. In the old day, things were a little different.
When the first crossword came out, there were no computerized programs available. It was 1913 when Arthur Wynne created what is now considered as the first crossword puzzle. Today crossword makers can earn around $50 to a $100 on a puzzle. The payment will depend on the complexity of the puzzle.
Creating crosswords come naturally to some people while others had to learn the process. There are several ways going about it. But the first thing that you will have to do is find a theme for your puzzle. Of course, crosswords can be about general, random things but there are times when you will create puzzles that tackle a single theme. Some crosswords are focused on subjects like animals, plants, biology, chemistry, physics, politics, and even mathematics can become themes for a crossword. One of the advantages of having a theme is the fact that you will a singular thought regarding what kinds of clues and answers to make.
The second you thought of a theme, it would be best to design a puzzle grid for your crossword. There are different kinds of grids to choose from. Marketwise, it seems that the American audiences are keener on a 15 by 15 word length. However, other combinations like 17 by 17, 19 by 19, and 21 by 21 can be utilized. Anything smaller than 15 by 15 has been found to be too small and also not that appreciated by the American crossword puzzle solvers. For the puzzle makers, it is not as lucrative as the bigger ones as well.
After having designed your grid, it would be easier to design one that is symmetrical. You can get to a more difficult grid design later as you become more accustomed to the process and more confident on your puzzle making skill. You will need to fill out the words inside the grid. You will insert the terms that you found out from research about a single theme. When placing the words on the grid, be careful placing them and avoid post assignments that create two letter words from the intersecting words. These two-letter words can be quite troublesome when you are already creating clues.
You then create the clues. Clues ideally should be interesting and creative. It has been a common practice to indicate as clues the synonyms of the words. Although valid, having synonyms as clues are pretty dull and I do believe you can do better. One can place as clues incomplete phrases or sentences leaving a blank space where the answer should go in. Some clues need to be factual. There are instances where you need to go to reference materials to check if you wrote the clue correctly. Also, some editors from publications will require you to show your references so it would be best to note that down.
This is a basic run down of how to create a crossword puzzle. In time you will develop your own style and process. But never forget to enjoy yourself.