Skip to content

7 Best Brain-Boosting Crosswords You Can Play Online for Free

Which of these will be your newest go-to puzzle?

Whether you're looking to boost your memory, hone your problem-solving skills, or expand your vocabulary, doing a daily crossword puzzle is the perfect pastime for keeping your mind sharp. Many online crossword puzzles come with the added benefit of being free of charge, so you can enjoy them at any time at your own convenience. If you're not sure where to turn for a puzzle without a paywall, we've got you covered. Read on for the seven best brain-boosting crosswords on the internet that won't cost you a dime.

RELATED: 7 Fun Games That Help Boost Your Memory, Experts Say.

7 Best Free Online Crosswords

1. Crossword Unlimited

woman downloading app on phone
Dean Drobot / Shutterstock

Gaming and puzzle apps ensure that your next good time is just a single tap away. Christen Costa, CEO of Gadget Review, recommends Crossword Unlimited in particular, citing it as his favorite free crossword app.

"Like the name suggests, you aren't just limited to one puzzle a day. Rather, you can do as many as you want, choosing various sizes, difficulties, and even languages," he says.

2. Best Crosswords

happy smiling couple with woman looking at computer while cuddling with man on couch
Kinga / Shutterstock

Jodi Jill, a writer, speaker, and founder of National Puzzle Day, suggests trying Best Crosswords, the largest supplier of free crosswords on the internet.

"This site offers puzzles from different crossword puzzle creators," says Jill. "The reason I love it is that sometimes when you play puzzles from the same creator, the familiarity makes it easier. With so many creators and options, you have some serious challenges to solve on this site."

Want to take your puzzling to the next level? Enter one of the site's monthly crossword tournaments to face off with other registered players.

RELATED: 15 Logic Puzzles That Will Help You Stay Sharp.

3. Mirriam-Webster Missing Letter Crossword

Older man on computer

Some crossword puzzles come with a twist. Case in point: Mirriam-Webster's Missing Letter Crossword Puzzle. The puzzle features 25 clues, each of which is a definition from the Mirriam-Webster dictionary. Each solution begins with a different letter of the alphabet, eventually making up 25 out of 26 letters in the alphabet. The letter not featured is the missing letter—the final answer to the puzzle.

"This crossword from Merriam-Webster will have your brain cells screaming in delight. It's a twist on a traditional crossword with an alphabet flare," says Jill.

4. Crosswords For Kids

dad jokes - father and son looking at a computer screen and laughing on a couch
fizkes / Shutterstock

Sharing your love of crosswords with the next generation can not only teach children valuable skills—it can also create a lasting bond. Jill recommends the site Crosswords for Kids as a perfect introduction to the world of word games.

"This cool site offers pictures as clues and allows the kids to explore the delightful world of crossword puzzles at their own pace," says Jill.

RELATED: 7 Incredible Wordle Tricks That Will Help You Win Every Time.

5. AARP Crossword Puzzle

Senior woman using smartphone sitting on the couch at home

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) also releases a free daily crossword puzzle on their site, and it comes with one notable benefit over other puzzles—it gives you several ways to check your answers and receive instant feedback.

If you're wondering whether just one letter or word is correct, you can click a tab to find out if you got it right. Alternatively, you can change your settings so that the puzzle will automatically alert you if you get an answer wrong.

Jill says another great aspect of the AARP puzzle is that the site encourages users to share their stats and scores. "I love how the community comes together and you can participate on another level by sharing your score on a daily, weekly, and monthly level. It's fun to see where your solving skills are when compared to other players," she says.

6. The Atlantic Crossword Puzzle

Man taking an online class

If you're looking for a truly challenging puzzle, the daily online crossword from The Atlantic is the way to go. "It's a daily dose of serious puzzling," Jill tells Best Life.

Each day of the week, the crossword clues become progressively more difficult to solve. Try putting your brain through boot camp by committing to seven days of puzzles in a row.

For more fun and game tips sent directly to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

7. The New York Times Mini Crossword

An older couple sitting on the couch looking at a cell phone together.
Prostock-studio / Shutterstock

Jill describes The New York Times crossword puzzle as "epic" and says she loves the way the Times team produces fresh content reflecting our culture. However, the standard crossword does require a subscription, which will cost either $5 per month or $40 per year. "They often have special deals too, so you may be able to get a subscription for even less," says Costa.

That said, the newspaper offers a lesser-known mini crossword puzzle for free—and it's just right for any ten-minute break you may find in your day. "It's a great way to start your day off with an accomplishment!" Costa adds.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
Filed Under