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Video:How to Make a Crossword Puzzle

with Meghan Lynn Allen

There are plenty of tools to help you make a crossword puzzle from scratch - no rulers and paper needed! Learn how to make a crossword puzzle at home.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Make a Crossword Puzzle

Hi, I'm Meghan Lynn Allen for About.com, and it's time to make your own crossword puzzle!

Crossword Puzzle Formats

The first thing you'll need to know is that crossword puzzles have a few standard formats. They're generally anywhere from 15x15 squares, up to 23x23, and anything in-between. And did you know crossword puzzles act like a mirror of themselves? So, if the bottom left-hand corner has a black square, then the top right-hand corner will have a black square.

Crossword Puzzle Words and Definitions

You can make a list of words and definitions in your basic Microsoft Works - whatever word processing programming you have. So, whatever words you'd like to use, put them in a list, put those definitions there, and that's what you'll use to pull from to make your puzzle. With the exception of some themed puzzles, it's important that those words and definitions on your list are referenced. You can find them in a dictionary or thesaurus, online or in a book in a library.

Make a Crossword Puzzle Online

Now that you've got your list of words and definitions, you can find a free puzzle-maker online. In fact, there's one called the Puzzlemaker at Discovery Education. And all you need to do is copy and paste those words and definitions into that free program. It's that simple.

Make a Crossword Puzzle With Software

You can make your puzzles a little more complex but take the work off of yourself by using crossword puzzle software. It may cost a little bit to use something like Crossword Compiler, Crossword Weaver, or Crossword Maestro - but the great thing about using those programs is that you don't need to make that list of definitions and words. It's got a built-in dictionary that'll help you pull together a theme and all those words and definitions.And if you're making up your own clues, don't be afraid to have a little fun.

Sure, it can be straightforward like "Alaska's capital" or leaving a blank for someone's name. For example, "elegant actress - BLANK Hepburn." But you can be a little bit clever too, like: "A golfing bird - eagle."

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