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Bits and Pieces

LATEST UPDATE! 1st September 2015: New puzzle from Bombadil.

Also a second puzzle from Rodolfo, which has a slight theme.

Latest puzzle from me is also themed.

New article which gives a few practical tips for setters.

Please note: in view of the ever increasing number of puzzles I get sent, I have had to become rather more choosy about which ones I will publish. See here.


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Welcome to my website. It's exactly what it says – free crosswords online to download or print off so you can solve them at your leisure. No subscriptions, no pop-up ads, no nonsense.

I am a professional crossword compiler, and I produce puzzles for the Financial Times and more recently, the Independent as Klingsor. I have also contributed a couple of puzzles to the Times Listener series. The puzzles in this collection are on the difficult side (I hope!) – several are thematic and/or use a wide range of vocabulary. Solutions to each puzzle are available via a link at the bottom of the page. 

You can find my puzzles via an index page which says a little about each puzzle. I have also published several crosswords from other setters, and have been very impressed by the standard of the puzzles I have received, many of them from new compilers. These are listed on the Guest Puzzles page. In response to several requests I have added a beginners' puzzle which, as the title suggests, is significantly easier than the rest. There are explanations for each clue accompanying the solution and new solvers would do well to start here. There are yet more free puzzles on offer – though I should point out that these are the leftovers from my first job writing puzzles for a media agency and are therefore pretty basic.

Is using a dictionary to help solve crosswords cheating? Find out what I think about this. Novice crossword compilers may find the page on Ximenean clueing helpful. There is a follow-up article on the same topic outlining some of my ideas on the ever-continuing debate on how rigidly clue writing should follow rules. The article on single letter indicators examines the various techniques for indicating initial and final letters of words in a clue, and there is also an article on link words in clues. There's an article which deals with cryptic definition clues and, encouraged by a letter from a visitor, I have written a piece about which words can be used in different puzzles. I've also done a piece about Ninas, which are increasingly used by some setters in crosswords. I hope that the growing collection of general tips for setters will be useful to anyone who seriously wants to write puzzles.

The Chambers Crossword Manual is essential reading for solvers and setters of all levels, and I have written a piece extolling its praises. Also to help aspiring setters there's a piece on how to set about becoming a professional compiler in response to several questions on this subject. For those of you interested in crossword compiling software there is an article on Bryson Limited's Sympathy program.

This site has received traffic from all round the world – and not only from English speaking countries. Indeed, some of the guest puzzles are excellent cryptics from people who have learned English as a second language. This spurred me on to put my knowledge of the Czech language to use. The Czech Puzzle is a simple, definition only crossword – to my shame I couldn't manage a cryptic! – so if you speak the language, do "czech" it out.

I have responded to the phenomenon of the incredibly popular Sudoku puzzle by writing an article on how I see crosswords faring in the future in the face of such stiff competition. Also I have included a piece about that pinnacle of crosswording achievement, the Listener Crossword.

If you like this site and would like to find more crossword sites, please take a look at the Links Page. I am happy to promote other crossword sites here, but please note that I prefer to include links to sites that offer some or all of their puzzles without charge. I would of course appreciate the favour being returned!

I've had a number of enquiries about copyright, and have written a short piece about using these puzzles in other publications which I hope will help.

From time to time I've been moved to write a few articles unrelated to crosswords about various subjects - these can be found on the Bits and Pieces page.

If you have any questions, the FAQ page may help. If not don't hesitate to contact me. All feedback is welcome.

Happy solving!

Alberich

Free Crosswords Online was launched on 07/01/02

All crosswords were created with Sympathy software.