Best printable crossword puzzles?
July 20, 2013 4:22 PM   Subscribe

My partner and I really like doing crosswords together when we're on vacation and have easy access to a newspaper. We don't get a paper delivered at home, so I'm looking for some online sources. She's a dyed in the wool, pen and paper crossword doer though, so I'd like to find some printable ones to work through together. I'm having trouble finding just the right source though. We're probably in the middle range of the spectrum as far as difficulty goes. The NYT Sunday Crossword is a little too tough, but the People Magazine one is boringly easy.

We're in Canada, but I'm open to English Language Crosswords from anywhere. Or if there's a book of crosswords that's amazingly awesome that I can order from amazon, I'd be totally open to those suggestions as well. Thanks!
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (19 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: A collection of Monday or Tuesday Times puzzles might be about right. They're smaller and more doable than the Sunday puzzles and much easier than the later-in-the-week puzzles.
posted by charmedimsure at 4:28 PM on July 20, 2013

For NYT, Sunday difficulty is on par with Thursday; if you find Sunday only a little too tough, you'll be a lot happier with a Wednesday or maybe Tuesday collection. The Mondays will feel too easy.
posted by Perplexity at 4:32 PM on July 20, 2013

Also, the software you want for downloading and then printing puzzles is called Across Lite. link
posted by Perplexity at 4:34 PM on July 20, 2013

I can't actually attest to their difficulty, but the LA Times' crossword is totally free and printable.
A very different flavor of clues and answers, but see how easy/amusing you find the Chicago Reader's, while you're exploring.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 4:35 PM on July 20, 2013

There are many sources of .puz files on the internet. You can print them using Across Lite, or use puz2pdf to batch convert them.

Seconding the LA Times, try Wednesdays.
posted by vasi at 4:39 PM on July 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Wall Street Journal has crossword puzzles every few days and the Saturday word puzzle can be fun too.
posted by TheLibrarian at 4:41 PM on July 20, 2013

If you're willing to shell out, I dunno, $1.50, you can get an entire book of crosswords from just about anywhere that sells magazines. If they are crummy try a different variety.
posted by windykites at 4:50 PM on July 20, 2013

They are usually at the very bottom of the magazine rack fyi.
posted by windykites at 4:52 PM on July 20, 2013

Best answer: The Guardian crosswords are free and printable. The Quick and Speedy crosswords aren't cryptic. Everything else is. (British crosswords use slightly different conventions to American ones--every letter need not be used in both an across and a down clue, for instance. This is kind of irrelevant, but it can make them a bit harder to finish.)
posted by hoyland at 6:24 PM on July 20, 2013

Best answer: I like Brendan Emmett Quigley's site. He posts 2 or 3 puzzles a week of varying difficulty levels.
posted by mlle valentine at 6:33 PM on July 20, 2013

Best answer: I like to print the daily crosswords from the Washington Post.
posted by jenny76 at 7:38 PM on July 20, 2013

New York Times crosswords are guaranteed quality, and as others have said, you can get books of ones that were published on specific weekdays, which is handy because they get progressively more difficult from Monday to Saturday (Sunday is about a Thursday level). Tuesdays and Thursdays tend to have tricks or themes. Hopefully that'll help you pick the right day for you. I'd say start with a Tuesday book and then see if you want to ratchet the difficulty up or down.
posted by dfan at 8:25 PM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Another vote for the New York Times puzzles. I am a longtime solver, and I'd actually recommend against most of the books of puzzles that are sold in bookstores. Occasionally, one of the books is a real gem, but as you and your partner probably know, puzzles have a certain language to their clues and answers that is often disrupted when you're solving a bunch in one printed collection, since the puzzles in books are often drawn from very different periods of the archive and thus the flow can be lost as usage changes. Forgive me, I think my nerd may be showing.

Anyway, you can subscribe to the daily Times puzzle and print the puzzle every day. It's only $40 per year, and the first month is free! So worth it.
posted by sevensnowflakes at 9:30 PM on July 20, 2013 has a daily puzzle.
posted by Cranberry at 11:44 PM on July 20, 2013

Best answer: The American Values Club crosswords (formerly The Onion's AV Club crosswords) are generally really clever, occasionally amusingly risque, and vary in difficulty. (Though in my experience they don't get much more difficult than, oh, Wednesdayish on the NYT scale.) They provide the crosswords in a variety of formats, including PDF for printing.
posted by speicus at 12:29 AM on July 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

My local library lets me copy the puzzles out of their newspaper archive. Using the microfilm machine to print crosswords from, say, your birthday, is really fun.
posted by carsonb at 6:27 AM on July 21, 2013

(Though, it should be noted, any puzzle from outside your cultural cognizence is going to be pretty difficult.)
posted by carsonb at 6:50 AM on July 21, 2013

Response by poster: You guys are awesome! We spent the morning doing one of Brendan Emmett Quigley's and it was exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 1:27 PM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm a fan of Merl Reagle's crosswords.

You can usually download PDFs of the past four weeks' puzzles from his site (this week's puzzle, last week's puzzle, two-week-old puzzle, three-week-old puzzle, although I don't think there are any answers available, so if you get stumped on something, you're stuck).

His puzzle collections are available there, too, if you like the examples.

There are also links to a variety of high-quality crosswords at the Puzzle Pointers page - some are PDFs, while others are .puz format, which you can open in software like the free AcrossLite and print from there.

Have fun!
posted by kristi at 7:12 PM on July 21, 2013

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