Not yet joined our word puzzle community? Then REGISTER NOW >>>
Who's online? | Login | Leaderboard | Anagrams

General Knowledge Solving Tips

Solving general knowledge puzzles, surprisingly enough, requires a considerable amount of general knowledge. So far, so obvious. But how do you go about getting the knowledge that you require to solve a general knowledge crossword?

Well there are various things you should know about this genre of puzzle. The first is that art and literature, geography and history are generally over-represented as clue types, whilst science is very under-represented. Therefore you should gen up on your literature and history in preference to your science.

This is probably because most general knowledge crosswords are compiled by those with an arts background rather than those with a science background, and people tend to stick to the areas they know when writing clues, understandably.

Likewise, most general knowledge setters are older rather than younger, so references to entertainment such as TV shows, films and music, often focuses around the 1920s through to the 1970s, so if you are a younger person then you might want to study the classics from that era, rather than more modern stuff, which is very rarely referenced. Some setters never reference living people, so therefore it is better to look to what happened yesteryear than spend too long boning up on what is going on today.

The other important thing to note about general knowledge crosswords is that many newspapers use the same setter week in, week out for their puzzles. Therefore you will get to know their own biases and areas of interest / knowledge, and note that these crop up much more regularly than other areas. Therefore if your interest is in solving the puzzle fully every time, then you might want to use this as the basis of the research you do between solving puzzles.

All of the above said, one of the great benefits of general knowledge crosswords is learning new things. Therefore don't feel too guilty about looking up answers that you don't know, but do try to learn what you have just found out rather than forgetting it as soon as you have inked in the last letter. Besides, particularly when writing clues on areas outside of their own interests, many general knowledge setters really have little idea how obscure the fact they are using is, and therefore how likely the general audience is to know it. This is particularly pertinent advice in the area of clues relating to science: a setter will sometimes use a basically unknown name from the scientific literature next to a very well-known person, often without realising that one is to all intents and purposes ungettable whilst the other is very easy for someone with a soupcon of scientific knowledge.

Do you have any general knowledge solving tips for us? Please do share below if so!
Date written: 20 Mar 2015

Comment on this post

You must be logged in to comment - please Register or Login

Other Blog Posts You Might Find Interesting...

What Is A Pangram?
Most commonly people have not heard of the word pangram. If they have, then they often get it confused with tangram. Although they share the first letter, that is all that there is common between them. A tangram is something lots of kids do at school...
Added: 06 Apr 2015

Dictionaries And Help With Writing Crossword Clues
For anyone who has written crossword clues, or anyone who is about to, there is one great realisation that dawns on you fairly on in your clue-writing career: dictionaries are surprisingly ineffective at helping you write crossword clues. There are...
Added: 28 Apr 2015

Introduction To Every Letter Counts Puzzles
Every letter counts is a version of the crossword puzzle created here at Wordy Puzzle, so you won't have come across it before (unless someone else has come up with the same idea elsewhere). The aim of the every letter counts puzzle is to solve a...
Added: 22 Mar 2015

Cryptic Definition Clues In Cryptic Crosswords
One of the rarer clue types to be encountered when solving cryptic crosswords is called the "cryptic definition". How does this vary from the other clue types, and what does it mean? Well, it varies from them in this very important way: there is...
Added: 12 Apr 2015

Punctuation In Cryptic Crossword Clues
When you start solving cryptic crosswords, you will notice that some clues contain punctuation. Whereas in English there are set rules as to where and how to use punctuation, and what the punctuation means, with cryptic crossword clues this is not...
Added: 14 Apr 2015

Back to Puzzle Blog

Puzzle Types:
Arrow word Puzzles
Pangram Puzzles
General Knowledge Crosswords
Quick Crosswords
Word Ladders
Word Fit
Skeleton Crosswords
A to Z Puzzles
Cryprograms Online
Every Letter Counts