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Go to the Crossword Puzzles tool

For Teachers


Choosing a Topic for Your Puzzle
When creating a crossword puzzle, it is a good idea to pick a topic that all of the clues and answers will focus on. If you are having trouble coming up with an idea for a topic, ask a friend or adult to help or use this list of possible ideas:

  • Books
  • Music
  • Friends
  • Movies
  • Celebrities
  • Heroes
  • Sports
  • Clothes
  • Food
  • Vacations
Making a Word List
Once you have a topic, it is time to make a list of words that will be the answers to the puzzle. A good place to look for words is in books, magazines, or websites about the topic. And remember that it is OK to use names of people, places, or things as answers to the clues.

When using the online Crossword Puzzles tool, there are some things you should know about your word list:

  • You shouldn't use more than 30 words
  • You shouldn't use less than 4 words
  • Your words must have 3 to 15 letters

Writing Clues
After you know the answers, you need to write the clues that will help someone figure out what they are.

A clue can:

  • Ask you to fill in a blank in a sentence
  • Give a description or definition of the word
  • Use a word that has the same meaning
  • Use a word that has the opposite meaning
  • Give examples

A good clue makes you think before you can come up with the answer. You might also need to look at the puzzle to see what letters are already there.

A bad clue is very obvious or gives the answer as part of the clue.

Here are some examples of good clues:

Answer = Lunch Answer = Cold
Possible clues: Possible clues:

There's no such thing as a free ___.

The opposite of hot

What you eat in the middle of the day

Chilly, freezing, frigid

Comes after breakfast

The inside of your refrigerator

Look at crossword puzzle clues in your daily newspaper or online for more examples. And when you write your clues, look in a dictionary or thesaurus for synonyms and definitions.

When writing your clues for the online Crossword Puzzles tool, remember that you:

  • Can write clues that contain up to 60 letters and spaces
  • Can use the numbers 0 to 9
  • Can use commas, periods, brackets, slashes, hyphens, and any character on the number line of the keyboard, for example @ or $ or *.

Creating a Puzzle Using the Tool
Once you have a list of words and clues to go with them, it's time to use the Crossword Puzzles tool.

The Crossword Puzzles tool uses Flash Player 8. You can download the latest version for free here.

Step One: Enter your name and choose a grade level.

Step Two: Click on the Create Your Own tab.

Step Three: Name your puzzle. Once you have typed in your title click Begin.

Step Four:

Type a word in the Enter a Word box. Click the Add Word button and the word appears in Your Word List. Keep entering words until all of the words you have listed are entered into the tool.

If you want to change or delete a word after you have already added it to your word list, click on the word. You will see two choices: Remove and Edit.

If you want to delete the word, click Remove.

If you want to change the word, click Edit.

The word then appears in the Enter a Word box where you can make your changes.

Step Five: When your word list is finished, click Create Puzzle and the tool will fit your words into a puzzle.

Sometimes the tool will not be able to use all of your words. It will tell you at the bottom right of your puzzle how many of the words it was able to use.

You can decide if you want to click on the Back button and go back and change your word list and change it or if you want to click Enter Clues.

Step Six: Enter each clue in the box next to the word. When you are done, click Finish.

Your puzzle is finished! You can have a friend do the puzzle on your computer or you can click the Print button to print out the puzzle.

Some hints for solving the puzzle online:

  • You can change the size of the puzzle by clicking on the + and - buttons on the screen.
  • You can grab the puzzle and move it around on the screen. The center button moves the puzzle back to the middle of the screen.
  • You can turn the sound off and on using the sound icon.
  • You can check your answers using the Check Puzzle button. Letters that are correct will be green; letters that are incorrect will be red.
Remember: You can't save your puzzle online. If you want to save it, print a copy.

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