This article is a must read for all of you mediocre crossword enthusiasts who can only dream of meeting Will Shortz. (I put myself in this category.)
Like many other things in life, learning the conventions and short hand code is 50% of the challenge. And it is assuredly not about a crushing memory for encyclopedic events. A student from Rensselaer Tech, Tyler Hinman, has won the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament five times (first title at the young age of 20!).
*Perhaps the biggest asset of the guide is a comprehensive list of the most commonly used words in the New York Times crossword puzzle. Memorize these and you have one foot in the (Monday-Wednesday) door.*
Therefore, learn here the basic tricks of the trade, from this wonderful, albeit anal, outline of how to master the crossword puzzle.