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How To Solve Puzzles

How to Solve Tile Crosswords

by Parker Lewis

A tile crossword is a crossword variant that looks like a mosaic of sorts. Similar to a regular crossword, a tile crossword conforms to the rule of “one letter per cell.” However, cells are not necessarily square-shaped. Instead, a cell can span multiple rows and columns, resulting in unusual cell shapes.

This tile crossword has four rows and five columns.


  • Harriet Beecher ___
  • It may entice shoppers to buy more
  • Number on a receipt
  • Use crayons


  • Fake butter
  • Lighthouse setting
  • Place for a playhouse, perhaps
  • Spread around
  • Treat from Nabisco

Clues are organized by row and column, and listed alphabetically. It is up to the solver to determine which clue goes with which row or which column. A clue may be a single word or multiple words. For multiple word clues, enter the words consecutively in the grid. (The sample puzzle uses only single words.)

Answers in a tile crossword read across each row and down each column but due to the unusual cell shapes, solvers must pay close attention to the order of the letters. There may be convoluted shapes that lead to interesting letter arrangements. When entering an answer, place one letter in every cell that it passes through. It may be the case where a letter appears more than once in the answer but is only entered in one cell. The letter essentially gets repeated, as in the letter O in the answer COLOR. Numbers outside of the grid confirm the length of the entry for that row or column.

There will occasionally be an extra line inside a cell. In cases like this, the extra line serves as a cell divider. If an answer were to cross the line while reading across or down, then the letter in that cell is used an extra time. In the example puzzle, the E is used once in the word STREW but twice in the word TREE.

It is usually necessary to solve a few clues before placing answers in the grid. As an additional hint, some tile crosswords will show numbers outside of the grid to confirm the length of the entry or entries for that row or column. A cell that spans multiple words may be a good entry point to solving the puzzle, since it usually will contain a common letter. Work back and forth between the grid and the clues while using the letter patterns to complete the puzzle


If you get stuck, don’t forget you can get hints by tapping on the icon. You have the option to reveal any cell and also to clear errors. It’s not cheating to ask for a hint — the goal is to have fun, so if asking for a hint increases your enjoyment, feel free.


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