In order to get the right crossword puzzle answers and crossword quiz answers, it is very important to figure out the clue properly. Clues can in itself be tricky and are categorized differently.
Some crossword clues, called straight or quick clues, are simple definitions of the answers. Some clues may feature anagrams, and these are usually explicitly described as such. Often, a straight clue is not in itself sufficient to distinguish between several possible answers, either because multiple synonymous answers may fit or because the clue itself is a homonym. It is near impossible to get the right crossword quiz answers without having a proper understanding of the clues provided.
Typically clues appear outside the grid, divided into an Across list and a Down list. The first cell of each entry contains a number referenced by the clue lists. Numbers are almost never repeated, and the cells are numbered consecutively, usually from left to right across each row, starting with the top row and proceeding downward. Some Japanese crosswords are numbered from top to bottom down each column, starting with the leftmost column and proceeding right.
Crossword clues are generally consistent with the solutions. For instance, clues and their solutions should always agree in tense, number, and degree. If a clue is in the past tense, so will be the answer. In most crosswords, the majority of the clues in the puzzle are straight clues.
Many crossword puzzles feature a “theme” consisting of a number of long entries, that share some relationship, type of pun, or another element in common. Some common types of themes include quote themes, featuring a famous quote broken up into parts to fit in the grid and are usually clued as “Quote, part 1”, “Quote, part 2”, etc. Then there are Rebus themes, where multiple letters or even symbols occupy a single square in the puzzle. Some other themes include Addition themes, where theme entries are created by adding a letter, letters, or word(s) to an existing word or phrase. There is also Subtraction themes, the reverse of the former, where letters are removed to make a new word or phrase. Compound themes are those, where the starts or ends of the theme entries can all precede or follow another word, which is given elsewhere in the puzzle. Anniversary or tribute themes, commemorating a specific person, place, or event, and then there are Synonym themes, where the theme entries all contain synonyms. Numerous other types have been identified, including spoonerisms, poems, shifted letters, rhyming phrases, puns, homophones, and combinations of two or more of other types of themes mentioned above.
Many puzzles feature clues involving wordplay which are to be taken metaphorically or in some sense other than their literal meaning, requiring some form of lateral thinking. Depending on the puzzle creator or the editor, this might be represented either with a question mark at the end of the clue or with a modifier such as “maybe” or “perhaps”. In more difficult puzzles, the indicator may be omitted, increasing ambiguity between a literal meaning and a wordplay meaning.