Forum > General Discussion

Theme ideas for begginers

(1/6) > >>

Hi all,

I'm an avid crossword solver looking to starting create some puzzles of my own. Any tips for a beginner as far as coming up with theme ideas? It seems like the most effective themes are based around puns, but is this necessarily the case or are there simpler theme ideas to start with? I take it that this is something that comes with experience, so I'm just looking for a place to start. Thanks for your help!

You definitely get a better grasp of themes as you progress. I started making crosswords less than a year ago, and I am still figuring some of this stuff out. What I did (and not entirely recommended) was to dive right into making a crossword to see if I could do it. Unfortunately, I made some reasonably bad themes and had to wait months to receive a rejection. I think the best themes are ones that you would enjoy as a solver, so if you have been a solver for a while, look over some of the puzzles on this site or to see what theme ideas you like.

Something I have been trying to do to increase my knowledge of themes is to see what the theme is in that days NYT, and see if I can come up with a similar one. For example, the other day I saw a puzzle where every theme answer started with a synonym of common (usual, standard, etc.), so I tried to emulate that, but with a different word to base the synonyms off of.

Read up on themes where you can, and if you are not already a member of the cruciverb mailing list, I recommend you join that too, since you can get a lot more feedback quickly than through this forum.

Hope I was helpful and not just rambling on. Good luck in your efforts!


Please see the following page:;sa=page;p=70

This list of theme types was put together by Mark Diehl and is available in our crossword dictionary:

- Kevin

Patrick Berry offers an excellent examination of themes and construction in general in his book "Crossword Puzzle Challenges for Dummies."

Thanks for posting this thread! There are great points that I would’ve never thought of.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version