The answer to what the best crossword puzzle books are depends on a few factors. Let’s go over a few:
- Crossword experience (mainly vocabulary)
- Amount of puzzles
- Font size (sometimes important for our aging puzzlers)
Ideally you want an appropriately difficult puzzle book that has the most amount of crossword puzzles possibles (max value!).
Now, buying a crossword puzzle book for yourself versus buying one as a gift are two completely different things. When recommending puzzle books to purchase I always suggest buying ones that have a range of difficulties so that you can accommodate any puzzler’s skill. This way there will always be a puzzle for them to solve, whether they start at the bottom rung or somewhere in the middle they can always work their way up.
Best Crossword Puzzle Books
With the intro out of the way I’m going to share with you what I think are the top 5 best crossword puzzle books out there right now – with options for the beginner, intermediate, advanced crossword puzzler.
NYT Ultimate Crossword Omnibus: 1001 Puzzles (4.5 / 5)
Edited by no other than Will Shortz (A very famous puzzle writer) we start off with this high-volume crossword book extracted from New York Times crossword puzzles written by Will Shortz of course. From probably one of those popular news papers in the world comes this mass of puzzles with a wide variety of difficulties. The high amount of puzzles, the writer Will Shortz, and the popularity of the source makes this my top pick for the best crossword puzzle book.
Supersized Book of Sunday Crosswords (4 / 5)
Another Will Shortz New York Times crossword puzzle book is on this list for the same reasons as the last, alongside the fact that the puzzles are supersized. Sure we can go for the puzzle book that has as many puzzles crammed in as possible, but sometimes it’s just nice to work on a large puzzle – one per page. This is also an excellent option for anyone with any sort of vision impairments, you want them to have an easy time seeing what they’re doing when puzzling.
Mega Crossword Puzzle Book #15 (4 / 5)
Simon & Schuster released the first EVER crossword puzzle book in 1924 – now released almost 90 years later is another 300 never before seen crossword puzzle book with crosswords constructed by expert puzzle constructor John Samson. This book isn’t anything special in any direction, you get 300 high-quality challenging puzzles for a good price – standard solid puzzle book.
Will Shortz Favorite Sunday Crossword Puzzles (4.5 / 5)
WOW another Will Shortz book, he must be a pretty popular puzzler – I should write an entire article just for him! This puzzle book is sort of a middle ground between the previously two reviewed Will Shortz books. A collection of popular crosswords in a slightly larger format than normal. Not quite 1001 puzzles, not quite as large as the supersize book, but it offers a bit of both worlds in this great puzzle book option.
USA Today Jumbo Puzzle Book #2 (3.5 / 5)
From another renowned news outlet we have this 400 crossword puzzle jumbo sized book that’s another great option to get yourself, or get the puzzler in your life as a gift. These puzzles are similar quality/difficulty to those found in the New York Times and it’s supersized as well – another all around great option for a crossword puzzle book.
Hopefully this selection of some of the best crossword puzzle books out there helps you narrow in on a good book for yourself or as a gift for the puzzler in your life. Most of these books have several editions so if you complete them all just look for the #2, #3, #4 etc. in that specific series. Will Shortz has also released a ton of crossword puzzles books so anything by him is a great choice.
History of Crosswords
Crosswords appeared historically dating back to the 1700’s being ran in various news outlets, as they still are today. Eugene T. Maleska is often credited with the first crossword phrase in the New York Times in 1862.
A crossword style puzzle appeared in an Italian magazine in 1890 designed by Giuseppe Airoldi and was titled in Italian “To pass the time”.
In 1913 an English journalist published a crossword that has most of the features found in today’s popular puzzles. The author was Arthur Wynne and he’s often called the inventor of the crossword due to the critical features he implemented.
As you can see the puzzle books have a varying history and appeared in many geographies before becoming mainstream.
Crossword puzzles serve to pass time, enhance vocabulary, stimulate the mind, and most importantly to derive enjoyment from.
The aim of creating this review of the best crossword puzzle books was to find the top books for my readers, and also inform you all a bit of the history of these amazingly fun puzzles that are enjoyed by millions across the world.