Crosswords UK

A resource for fanatics and beginners

Saturday 2nd July, 2022

No. 5,366

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Strategy Page Two

Second Stage

Having read through all the clues and maybe jotted in a couple of the simpler ones, now's the time to go back through them all, spending more time on those you've already identified as potentially 'quickly' solvable. For example, you may have seen a couple of anagrams that you're confident can be cracked with just a little more time.

Again, at this stage try to resist the temptation to spend too much time on a single clue. There's no point spending 20 minutes on an across clue when there are three potentially easy down clues to provide letters for it. Hopefully you'll have completed a few solutions on the first glance so you can spend a little more time on those that have letters written in.

Once you've completed the second sweep you may want to do a third, spending more time again on each one (and so on) but once you're familiar with a particular crossword you'll probably find that the end of the second sweep is time to move on to examining individual clues.


By now you should have a number of solutions filled in and on this next stage you can look at those clues where one or more letters have been completed. Look specifically for unusual letters - 'X', 'K', 'Q' and so on as these will severely limit the possible words for that solution. Now is also a good time to look for 'beginnings' and 'endings'. A word with an 'X' as the second letter will almost certainly begin with an 'E' or an 'A' and while this letter probably won't add to any other solution, it lets you start forming the word in your head. Equally a word ending in 'G' may end 'ING', a penultimate letter 'N' might end 'ENT' and so on.

Pay particular attention to multi-word solutions, e.g. (3,2,4), as these can be easier to solve than single words. With one or more letters in place you may be able to narrow down one or more words in the group, e.g. 'AT', 'OF' and so on.

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