• Crossword Puzzle Games – input up to 20 words and definitions. The generator will also work if you do not add definitions, but I feel the definitions add more depth and help students associate words with their definitions.
  • Crossword Puzzle Maker – This program puts all of the words you specify (no more, no less) into a simple crossword puzzle that will remain online for approximately 2 months. You can add up to 60 words/definitions and program the creator to use several different options (some of which include square size, color of square, computation size, etc.).
  • Instant Online Puzzle Maker – Separate each word and its clue with a slash “/” character. Press the Enter key once after each clue, except for the last clue. Clues can be up to 255 character long.
  • Read*Write*Think Crossword Puzzles – select a grade level, use a pre-made puzzle, or create your own. The generator is useful because you add words first, create the puzzle to make sure all words can be used, and then add your definitions. Many generators require words and definitions first and then generate a crossword…sometimes a crossword cannot fit all the words you designate into a puzzle.
  • Teacherview Crossword Puzzle – I hesitated to add this to the list since I did not particularly care for the format of this generator. Still, it does the job and could be used to help students develop placement strategy since the crossword is created using one-letter fields prior to adding the definitions. Try it and see what you think or better yet, give students an opportunity to puzzle out a crossword of their own.
  • The Teacher’s Corner – create a crossword puzzle using a maximum of 20 words/definitions. Every word MUST have a clue and no two words can be the same. Presumably you can also add images to your crosswords, though I was not successful using the Chrome browser. The site also features a large number of pre-made, categorized crossword puzzles.
  • Discovery Puzzlemaker – the “criss-cross” option of Discovery Puzzlemakers is a fast and simple crossword generator that offers width, height, and size square options.
  • Study Stack – I reviewed this super little flashcard creator a few months back (see my Create Web 2.0 Flashcards in a Flash! post) and wanted to point out that one of the study features you can take advantage of when you create flashcards with this product is a crossword generator.

If you would like to create a crossword using a program on your computer hard drive (instead of one of the generators I shared above) I highly recommend Eclipse Crossword, a free crossword program download. You can use the program to create a printable crossword or an online crossword (if you are a web designer). The program is easy to install and use. You could save crossword puzzles to a shared drive or hard drive if you work with students who do not have Internet privileges. There are other software programs that can be used to create crosswords, but why pay when you can use Eclipse Crossword? It’s a dandy program that is absolutely free!
If you do not feel inclined to create a puzzle there are a number of crossword puzzle sites that feature pre-made puzzles that can be used to challenge your students (or yourself). If you are looking for some pre-made crossword puzzles to solve check the links below (I have not listed them in any particular order):
  • Boatload Puzzles – this site features 40,000 free online crossword puzzles for your solving pleasure. The site features the following options:
    • Print puzzles, if you prefer to solve them on paper.
    • Three puzzle sizes: 40,000 Small (13×13) puzzles, 40,000 Medium (15×15) puzzles, and 20,000 Large (19×19) puzzles.
    • Save a partially finished puzzle, and finish it later.
    • Pause and hide a puzzle, so your score isn’t penalized for taking a break.
    • Presumably you can also embed a puzzle on your website, but the script did not work in this blog (and I tried it in IE as well as Chrome)…too bad…it seemed like a neat feature.
  • USA Today Daily Crossword
  • Thinks.com – a different puzzle each day
  • Washington Post Crossword Puzzle – a different puzzle each day
  • Newsday.com – a different puzzle each day, with an extra large puzzle on Sunday
  • ABC Teach – several free crosswords (nice for younger students)
  • NY Times Learning Network – Twice a month you can play a new crossword puzzle.
  • Web Crosswords.com – a different daily puzzle that can be solved online or in print
  • Best Crosswords.com – register to play these free games online or print them to solve them using pencil and paper.
  • Free Crossword Puzzles – five free puzzles a day
  • Crossword Puzzles for ESL students – varying degrees of difficulty
  • Many Things.org ESL Puzzles – some of the puzzles feature picture clues
  • Science Crossword Puzzles – a limited variety, but nice for science emphasis
For those individuals who become frustrated while trying to solve a crossword puzzle (like me) I will end this post with some puzzle solver tools:
  • Langenberg.com – tools to help solve crossword puzzles (also good for Scrabble)
  • Crossword Tools.com – “an online collection of fantastic, artificial intelligence tools related to crosswords and recreational wordplay of all kinds!”
  • Crossword Puzzle Games – this site features the generator I mentioned earlier, as well as this simple crossword puzzle solver.
Of course, how can you solve a crossword without a dictionary near by (perhaps I should say as close as your finger tips)? Use any of the dictionaries featured in my 25 Online Dictionaries post as you solve a pre-made puzzle or assist students in solving a puzzle you generated for them.