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If you love a brain-teasing puzzle at your fingertips, you've probably looked for the best crossword app. But how do you choose the best one? It's a real puzzle. There are so many options, and many give interesting variations on the classic crossword puzzle formula.

For some, they give it to you straight — daily crosswords with a set of clues that all fit together neatly. They test your brain, and on Sunday, the puzzle is extra hard. Others throw this formula for a loop. They make it more of a game than a puzzle, where you have to advance through harder and harder levels.

Comparison Table

Best Crossword App


Overall Ratings

CodyCross: Crossword Puzzles

Full grid format

Crossword Puzzle Redstone

 Traditional and symmetrical puzzle

Crossword - World's Biggest

Offers hundreds of free puzzles

The New York Times Crossword

 Free but limited

Wordalot - Picture Crossword

Gives you a new way of solving an old puzzle

Words With Friends 2

Gives you a way to interact with your friends


Has 10 million users

So, which one works best for you? Are you looking for something classic, or something new?

Clueing In To The Best Crossword App

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If you're looking for a way to test your brain at any time, there's no better option than a crossword app. Crosswords challenge your critical thinking. They correlate with better thinking, attention, and reasoning. However, there's no evidence to suggest that crosswords actually cause improved mental function.

Even so, crosswords are a great way to pass the time while increasing your puzzle solving skills. You can also increase your vocabulary. And the best thing is, the best crossword app for you is out there. Some require creative thinking to solve the clues. Others are competitive games where you build the crossword for points.

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Whether you're looking for a traditional, newspaper-style crossword experience or you want a unique take on the puzzle, the best crossword app is out there for you.

What To Think About When Choosing A Crossword App

Everyone with a smartphone knows that there are two app stores: the iOS Apple App Store, and the Google Play store for Android phones. A lot of the time, popular apps on one platform are not available on their counterpart.

Fortunately, all of the choices for the best crossword app exist on both Apple's and Google's app stores. You can find the best crossword app no matter what smartphone you use.

Android phones on white surface

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So, with the operating system out of the way, the first thing you should consider is what kind of crossword you want to play. Maybe the best crossword app for you caters to a more traditional crowd. It has daily puzzles, a pretty standard layout, and creative clues.

Or, you might be interested in a more game-oriented app: you play against friends or against a timer. In fact, apps have given developers a lot of freedom to make their own crossword variants. If you love traditional crosswords or are looking for something new, the best crossword app may give you something entirely different.

Of course, you should also consider the price. The NY Times Crossword, which many consider the best crossword app, only really opens up once you purchase an annual subscription. But, it gives you decades of crosswords, tracks your score, and updates daily.

On the other hand, free crossword apps offer thousands of crosswords puzzles at no cost at all.

How We Picked The Best Crossword App

It's challenging to narrow down the best crossword app based on professional reviews. The fact of the matter is, there aren't that many official reviews looking for the best crossword app.

Still, we started our search with best-of lists like this one from AppGrooves. They helped narrow down which crossword apps are a good use of your time.

More importantly, apps live and die based on user reviews. That fact drives the whole model of both app stores. So why wouldn't it drive our review as well? Reviews from customers are the most important part of deciding which is the best crossword app.

The nice thing about doing a crossword puzzle is, you know there is a solution.

Stephen Sondheim

App users will see all the bugs and errors hiding in the app if there are any at all. They'll tell you how intrusive ads are and how challenging the puzzles are for them.

Because we want to make sure that whatever app you choose is truly the best crossword app, we were pretty strict. Any app we recommend has to be rated 4.0 stars or higher out of 5 on at least one of the platforms.

Most of the apps we recommend were rated by thousands, if not tens of thousands, of users. You can rest assured that at least one of these is the best crossword app for you.

Our Best Crossword Apps

Our selections for the best crossword app are included here. We've listed them in alphabetical order.

CodyCross: Crossword Puzzles

Codycross app

Image Source: ​Apple​​​

CodyCross: Crossword Puzzles amps up the game aspect of these crossword apps by taking you on an adventure with a puzzle-solving alien. Solving puzzles advances you through the adventure, and puzzles increase in difficulty.

Crosswords in CodyCross are unique because they offer a full grid format. There aren't any blacked-out spaces like in newspaper-style crosswords. There is also an additional puzzle of uncovering the secret word in each one.

CodyCross gives you the option to subscribe as well, and play unlimited puzzles. You can subscribe weekly, monthly, or annually. In addition to unlimited puzzles, you also get new daily content.

This game is very popular on both app stores and earned over 500,000 reviews from customers on both Apple and Google Play. This crossword app earned 4.7 out of 5 and 4.6 out of 5 stars from customers on Apple and Google, respectively.

Crossword Puzzle Redstone

Crossword app

Image Source: ​Apple​​​

Unlike so many of the other crossword apps we have discussed, Crossword Puzzle Redstone focuses on the puzzle. It doesn't make a game of it. Instead, it offers the traditional, symmetrical puzzle you've seen in newspapers.

Crossword Puzzle Redstone is free to play. You get access to thousands of crosswords, including weekly new content, at no personal cost. Redstone uses customer reviews to emphasize that it targets the traditional crossword crowd. It advertises itself as an app for the real crossword enthusiast.

It's the boredom that kills you. You read until you're tired of that. You do crossword puzzles until you're tired of that. This is torture. This is mental torture.

Jack Kevorkian

In addition to its core crossword focus, this app has a lot of tools to help you solve puzzles. For example, it has a smart lookup feature that helps you with troublesome clues.

It also shows when you have a puzzle with incorrect clues, and lets you lock completed words. This app also uses multiple crossword authors to keep things fresh and interesting.

Crossword Puzzle Redstone earned 4.7 stars out of 5 from 22,800 customers on the App Store. It also earned 4.7 stars from 59,000 Google Play customers.

Crossword - World's Biggest

Crossword app

Image Source: Apple

Crossword - World's Biggest works for its title in more than one way. For one, this app offers hundreds of free puzzles and thousands of clues. More importantly, it switches up how to play your crossword among seven different game types.

In addition to standard crosswords, you can also play more challenging puzzles, codeword puzzles, famous quotations, and even British-style cryptic crosswords. Cryptic crosswords use a unique set of rules for clues. That makes each clue a puzzle in itself, where nothing is quite as it seems.

You also have the option of playing daily mini crosswords and other puzzles. Keep in mind that this free app requires you to win tokens or watch ads to keep playing. Given the volume of free puzzles, that's not a huge price to pay.

Crossword - World's Biggest earned 4.4 stars out of 5 on the Apple St​​ore and 4.5 stars out of 5 on Google Play. Between them, this app is rated over 40,000 times.

The New York Times Crossword

New york times crossword

Image source: ​Apple​​​

This crossword app is truly the Cadillac of all crosswords apps. The New York Times crossword on its own, in print, is one of the mainstays of newspaper crosswords. And if you pay the annual subscription fee, you have access to a full range of features.

The most important of these is, of course, the daily crossword from the New York Times. It's great for those of you who like to work a crossword with your coffee in the morning. Plus, you can keep track of how many days in a row you complete the puzzle and your average time for each day.

I pay attention to the news. I take the 'New York Times.' I do the Saturday crossword.

Dick Van Dyke

If one puzzle a day isn't enough for you, this app also has archives going back to 1993, daily mini puzzles, and themed packs for an extra price. Plus, they're all made or vetted by the NY Times Crossword editing team. So, you know they're top-notch.

The New York Times Crossword app is free but limited. Otherwise, you can subscribe weekly or for $39.95 annually, depending on if you are a New York Times subscriber. It earned 4.9 stars out of 5 from more than 47,800 ratings on the Apple App Store. You can also find it on the Google Play store.

Wordalot - Picture Crossword

Wordalot crossword app

Image source: ​Google store​​​

Wordalot definitely stands out from the crowd of crossword puzzle apps. In fact, it's unique in part because it actually uses very few words at all.

Rather than offer clever or cryptic clues to each word in the puzzle, Wordalot uses a picture. Using this picture, you have to guess at the words in the given puzzle. It gives you a new way to think, emphasizing the visual rather than the verbal. They aren't always as obvious as they might seem, either.

This crossword puzzle app gives you a new way of solving an old puzzle. If you have trouble with crosswords normally, or just want to look at some nice pictures for a change, Wordalot is here for you.

It earned a rating of 4.6 stars out of 5 from 123,000 Google Play customers. It also earned 4.6 out of 5 stars from 2,200 Apple App Store users.

Words With Friends 2

Words With Friends 2 app

Image source: ​Google store​​​

Words With Friends 2 earns a lot of its popularity by bringing a level of competition to crossword puzzles. Rather than solving a pre-made puzzle, Words With Friends 2 pits you against your friends. With a limited set of letters, you try to score more points with longer words. You build off of your friend's words as you do.

It's a familiar format, but since it's an app, there's a lot more to work with. For one, you can play against your friends from anywhere in the world. But, you can also play single-player against AI WordMasters. And, you can play in teams of up to five in lightning round games.

Words With Friends 2 not only gives you a way to interact with your friends, but it also lets you build up your vocabulary and problem-solving skills. Combine this game with another more traditional puzzle app, and you might see your skills improve in both!

This app earned a rating of 4.7 stars out of 5 on the Apple App Store from nearly 400,000 customers. Over 200,000 reviewers on the Google Play store gave this game 4.5 stars out of 5.


Wordscapes app

Image source: ​Apple​​​

Wordscapes is a free crossword puzzle game and is by far the most popular crossword app we have discussed here. Its Google Play description boasts of over 10 million users, and the Apple Store rated it first in word games.

What's so compelling about Wordscapes? It's not a crossword puzzle like you'd find in a newspaper. In each puzzle, you have a limited number of letters which you can use to spell every word in the puzzle. By connecting them in different ways, you fill out the puzzle word by word. And with over 6,000 levels, it's just about impossible to put down.

Wordscapes combines a play style that's easy to understand with the reasoning skills of a crossword puzzle. It challenges you to think while also making you always want to play just one more puzzle. No wonder it's so popular!

Since it is free to play though, some players have found the ads to be intrusive or irritating.

On the Apple App Store, this app has 4.9 stars out of 5. On the Google Play store, it earned 4.8 out of 5 stars. Between the two sites, Wordscapes has, incredibly, earned nearly one million reviews.

Solving The Question Of The Best Crossword App

So, which app is the best crossword app for you? It may be the hardest, but most important, puzzle you have to solve.

Scrabble blocks

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Think of what you want from the best crossword app. If you're looking for the one that gives you a traditional, newspaper-style app, there are a couple of great options for you. But if you want to step out of the typical crossword realm, there are options there too.

So, you decide if you want traditional or modern. Why not both? There's no one saying you have to choose just one!

One thing that I do find really sexy is a girl who's good at crossword puzzles. 

Chris Pine

How do you get your word fix? Do you go for a fast-paced game or a slow puzzler? Let us know down below.

Last update on 2021-09-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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