While traditional crossword puzzle books are still around, mobile devices have made crosswords far easier to access than ever before. Due to their simple input system, crossword puzzles translate into app form effortlessly and come with additional features such as answer-checking and hints. If you’re ready to try your hand at some of the best crossword apps out there, then check out these suggestions.
1. Crossword Unlimited
This app works much like a traditional crossword puzzle, only you have the authority to choose the size, difficulty, style, and language. Once you establish these parameters, simply click “Play” from the main menu to get started.
When you select a “down” or “across” space on the board, the hint for it appears at the top of the screen. Simply start typing the letters of the word you think is correct. If you make a typo, you can always click on the individual letter box and swap out the letter. Similarly, if you think the entire word is wrong, you can go back and change it.
At the bottom of the screen, you have options to read the help menu (when no box is selected), reveal the correct word, find possible matches based on the number of letters, check whether your word is correct, and show which words are wrong. Unfortunately, all of these helpful tools add time to your game (if you care about that).
Crossword Unlimited is free to play but does come with ads and has a somewhat clunky interface. But if you can deal with that, it’s a great crossword app for anyone to play.
2. New York Times Crossword
The New York Times Crossword releases a new crossword puzzle daily, and the difficulty varies. When you open the app, you can scroll through the past several days of crosswords, and the difficulty will be noted at the top. You also have access to “The Archives” (older puzzles) and crossword packs with multiple puzzles to play.
Gameplay works mostly how you’d expect. The top bar shows the amount of time you’ve taken to solve so far, an option to view all the hints in a list (for easy solving), info about the specific crossword you’re playing, and the settings menu. Below the board, you’ll see the hint for the line you’ve selected along with a keyboard to type your responses. However, there’s no way to check your answers and no hints are given, so be ready to work hard!
Overall, this is one of the best crossword apps out there. Unfortunately, the best things aren’t always free forever. The New York Times Crossword offers a seven-day free trial, then daily plays will set you back $4.99 per month or $39.99 per year. However, they do offer daily mini puzzles, too, which don’t require a subscription.
3. 5-Minute Crossword Puzzles
While traditional crosswords contain dozens of words and clues, the puzzles in this app usually only contain six or seven clues. The general idea, as the name implies, is that you can solve them in under five minutes.
To solve, simply read the clue displayed below the puzzle and use the provided letters to type the word. The game even shows the word as you type and instantly tells you whether or not it is correct.
If you get stuck, the game does have the option to reveal a letter, remove extra letters, or reveal a word – but it will cost you coins (which you earn while you play). Otherwise, you can simply skip the puzzle and come back to it another time.
5-Minute Crossword (or Little Crossword Puzzles) is completely free to play and has many puzzles waiting for you to solve.
4. Crosswords with Friends
As the name implies, Crosswords With Friends combines the thrill of crossword puzzles with a healthy dose of competition for you and your friends. You can invite your friends to compete against each other on the new daily puzzles, then check the leaderboard to see who completed the puzzle in the fastest time.
Within the crosswords themselves, play works similar to any other crossword puzzle. The clues appear below the board, and a keyboard is available for you to make guesses. You can also scroll through the clues and knock out the easy ones first, or click on the board itself to find a clue for a specific place on the board.
You also have options at the very bottom of the board to reveal a word, see what words you have wrong, or get 10 freebie letters in random places on the board. Otherwise, you’re just solving the puzzle with your own brainpower.
In addition to the daily puzzles, there are also mini crosswords and fun challenges available. The best part? Crosswords With Friends is completely free, minus watching some ads that appear periodically.
5. Shortyz Crosswords
If you’re an Android user and a fan of traditional newspaper crosswords, then Shortyz Crosswords is an absolute must-have.
While some of the other crossword apps on this list generate their own puzzles, Shortyz keeps track of crosswords published in major U.S. publications and sets them up in a digital-friendly format. You can also link your email and other accounts so that the app can import crosswords you receive from other sources.
Gameplay works like many of the other apps, with your hint provided at the top and your keyboard at the bottom. In the top-right corner there is also a drop-down menu so that you can see your errors, reveal letters or words, view all the clues, change the zoom and other settings.
If you grow tired of one puzzle, you can hop out and start another. The app will save your progress on each crossword you start. Also, for a free app, there aren’t many ads, which makes Shortyz all the better.
6. Crossword Puzzles!
Don’t worry, iPhone users! Although Shortyz isn’t available for you, Crossword Puzzles! is, and it’s great.
Crossword Puzzles! offers free daily crosswords to solve, all of which come with a breathtaking HD background from somewhere in the world. Furthermore, the app works in portrait or landscape mode on the iPad, a feature which many crossword apps don’t offer.
Gameplay is easy enough, with the clues located under the board, and your keyboard appearing under that. You can also receive hints, check whether your answer is correct, and even download the puzzle to play in offline mode.
If you just want to play the free daily crossword puzzle, this app is completely free (with ads displayed). If you need more puzzles to solve, though, you can take advantage of the in-app purchases to buy more.
7. CodyCross: Crossword Puzzle
CodyCross is a cute, thematic crossword puzzle app that provides enough flavor for children while still being challenging enough for any age. However, it works a little differently than traditional crossword apps, as it features mostly horizontal clues (with a few vertical ones sprinkled in).
When you start a puzzle, you receive the first clue, then type in the letters to solve it. Once you solve a clue correctly, select letters from the answer are copied and put into the correct spot on other clues. By solving each clue, you make every other clue easier to solve until every one of them is complete. The clues are more based around trivia than wordplay, so you may learn a thing or two as you go!
CodyCross is free to play and a great way to turn crossword puzzles into a family affair.
8. Cryptic Crossword
For the most part, this crossword app works the same as all the others. The clue and keyboard are displayed below the board to add your response.
As the name implies, though, the clues for Cryptic Crossword are difficult to solve at best. However, you can reveal individual letters or words in the puzzle to better map the answer to the question. Furthermore, the “check” feature lets you know whether you have a clue right and even tells you which letters are correct or incorrect.
While the “lite” version of Cryptic Crossword is free on Android, the full version costs $4.99. Luckily, iPhone users can get this app for free.
Instead of giving you individual word-based clues, Wordalot shows a picture at the top of the puzzle. The words within the crossword puzzle are items hidden in the picture. Therefore, you have to match what the puzzle is hinting about to what you can see in the picture. This makes for a nice twist on the crossword format if you want something fresh.
When you select a word to guess, letters appear below that are somewhere in the puzzle. This helps narrow things down a bit. However, if you still find yourself stumped, you can use the hint button or the share button to “phone a friend.”
As you can tell, Wordalot is an easy game, but that makes it just that much better for folks of any age. It’s also completely free, so we can’t complain too much.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I tell if free crossword apps are safe to download?
While most apps within the Google Play Store and App Store are perfectly safe, you can always check the permissions an app will require and read the reviews before downloading. Luckily, all the crossword apps on this list are safe – we tested them before adding them to the list.
2. Is there Web help outside of the apps themselves to solve crossword puzzles?
There are many websites to help you solve crossword puzzles. Start with the ones listed below:
3. Are there free crossword puzzles available on the Web?
Although crossword apps make it easy to take your games with you, there are also some websites that offer digital crossword puzzles you can play through your web browser, too.
Some titles include:
- AARP’s Daily Crossword
- Boatload Puzzles
- USA Today’s Crossword Archives
- Dictionary.com’s Daily Crossword
- Best Crosswords
Image Credit: Unsplash
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