Jumble vs. Crossword

Learn the differences between these two popular word games, along with some tips and tricks to play better.

What is Jumble?

If you enjoy solving word puzzles then you’ll love Jumble. From the name, jumble is a word puzzle that requires the player to solve a set of scrambled letters to make a word. The game provides an illustration that acts as clues to help identify the word. Each jumble game typically has four anagrams. Depending on your skill level, the player can opt for the beginner or advanced level.

Jumble was first created in 1954 by Martin Naydel. Over the years, it gained so much popularity that it’s now found in over 600 publications in the USA and internationally.

To become great at jumble the player needs to have good vocabulary and be able to unscramble the most words within a short timeframe. This game can be a great way to teach children new words and help them stimulate their minds. Also check out the word games that the kids may enjoy over a weekend or holiday.

What is Crossword?

Crossword is a word puzzle that consists of vertical and horizontal squares in a rectangular or square grid. The squares in the grid are usually white (blanks) and black (shaded). To win, the player needs to fill in the white squares with correct words/phrases by solving the clues provided.

The first crossword puzzle was invented by a British journalist called Arthur Wynne and first published in 1913 on the fun page of the New York World. Although the puzzle was diamond shaped and lacked the black shaded squares, it had similar rules and objectives as the current version. It was considered as a fun and educative way to pass time and not long after other publications started introducing crossword puzzles.

To become great at solving crossword puzzles, the player needs to practice often, have good vocabulary, and be a strategic thinker.

In this article, we compare jumble and crossword puzzles and discuss what makes them great game choices for people of all ages.

How to play Jumble

To play the daily publication version of jumble, you’ll need a pencil and eraser. It’s not guaranteed that you’ll get it right on the first guess which makes having an eraser a smart idea. To get the correct answer you need to check the next day’s paper. You can also play different versions of jumble online and use a jumble solver to get the correct answer if not provided.

Here are some steps to follow when playing jumble.

  • To start, the player needs to study the illustration/clue provided and try and figure out what the missing word could be.
  • Then, look at the scrambled word and rearrange it until you get a proper word. For this, you need to have an extensive vocabulary to make identifying words easier.
  • After you’ve figured out the potential word, fill it in on the blank spaces provided next to the scrambled word. You’ll also notice some of the blank spaces (where letters go) are highlighted.
  • Continue to do so for all the remaining anagrams.
  • After you’ve successfully unscrambled all the words, proceed to identify all highlighted letters in the anagrams. The highlighted letters from the solved words are what you’ll use to identify the missing word/pun or phrase required.
  • Next, proceed to write those letters on the side. Try and solve the letters to form a complete word. You must make sure that the word is sensible and correctly fits into the space provided.
  • After you identify the word/phrase, fill it in the blank space provided.
  • Then wait for the next newspaper/magazine publication to confirm if you got it right.

Jumble Tips and Tricks.

  • Practice, practice, and more practice. To be great at jumble, you need to solve puzzles regularly. This will help when transitioning into more complex puzzles.
  • Try and figure out what the missing word/phrase could be by studying the clue provided.
  • Check what the letters spell out backward.
  • Arrange and rearrange the letters until you figure out what the possible word could be. Don’t quit easily.
  • Check for letters that usually appear together e.g. TH, CH, SH, etc.
  • If unable to solve the word, you can even use a jumble word solver.

How to play Crossword

Like most word puzzles, crossword puzzles require the player to have an extensive vocabulary and know the correct spellings of various words. If you’re looking for a pastime game that doesn’t require using your brain, then crossword isn’t for you.

For beginner players, always start with the simplest puzzles and use a pencil just in case you fill in an incorrect letter. By doing this you get to experience the game and grow your puzzle-solving skills before advancing.

Here are some steps to follow when playing crossword.

  • Look for any blank spaces in the clues section and solve them first.
  • Read through all clues and see if there are any short or easy clues.
  • Start solving the short/easy clues.
  • Look around the solved puzzles for words connected horizontally and vertically. Try and tackle them.
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and start over.
  • Continue doing these until the puzzle is completed.

Crossword Tips and Tricks

  • Start by solving the easiest clues.
  • Verify your answer by solving the empty spaces around it.
  • Identify possible patterns.
  • The same tense used on the clue is the same for the answer as well.
  • An abbreviation in the clue could also mean an abbreviation in the answer.
  • If you’re stuck, you can look up answers or ask a friend for help.
  • You can also take breaks in between if you feel overwhelmed.
  • Take your time, don’t rush.
  • Review all your answers once you’ve completed the puzzle. To win the game the player must fill all blank squares with the correct letter.

If you want to read more, you should also read some tips on solving crossword here.

Top differences between Jumble and Crossword

  • Crossword puzzles come in square grids while jumble puzzles don’t.
  • Jumble puzzles have images/illustrations as clues while crosswords have statements as clues.
  • In Jumble, words are scrambled and the player needs to unscramble them. There are no scrambled words in crossword.
  • Crossword puzzles take a significantly longer time to complete.
  • In jumble the aim is to solve for the main missing word/phrase while in crossword the goal is to complete the whole puzzle.


Both jumble and crossword puzzles are great games to keep you and your family entertained. Although crossword puzzles seem difficult at first, practicing often and working on your vocabulary will help you grow your puzzle solving skills in no time.


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Published on 28 Jan 2023
Author: Maureen