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It all started in a long line of cranky customers (myself included) at the dollar store. I live less than five minutes from mine and this year, it became my most frequent stop while running weekly errands. Almost everything I need for the house can be found in its aisles. This includes toilet paper (which seems to run out everywhere else), paper towels, hair masks, and cleaning supplies–just a small fraction of all I’ve accumulated since March. Before 2020, this would be the last place I explored for the best crossword puzzle books. But after a couple of minutes in that long line, my eyes wandered to a nearby display holding a crossword puzzle book, to which I thought, “hmm, maybe this will force me to take a break from Netflix bingeing.”
I am still rewatching Sister, Sister and all of my favorite rom-coms as if I’m watching them for the first time, but my beloved crossword puzzle book steals my attention every couple of hours. One, when you have a crossword puzzle book, it’s impossible to do just one, unless it’s incredibly difficult. Before you know it, you’re pages in and everything else has faded into the background. Your gaze softens and you feel like a genius as you discover words arranged backward, diagonally, and crisscrossed. Pages later, you look at your phone and an hour has flown by. At least, that’s what my experience has been so far.
The best crossword puzzle books will actually decrease your screen time, engage your problem-solving skills regardless of the difficulty level, and foster calmness wherever you are. They’re also an alternative to scrolling social media if you want to kill time while waiting. Ahead are some standout crossword puzzle books to keep in the living room or in your commuter bag–and don’t forget to keep a pencil or pen nearby, too.
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Thinking Inside the Box Crosswords
This insightful crossword collection delivers plenty of puzzles alongside a captivating look into the history of crossword puzzles.
If you consider yourself a crossword whiz and want to be challenged, buy this diagramless crossword book that holds blank grids that only give you clues to work off of.
A collection of puzzles featuring cocktail puns, drinking game themes, and more.
Simon & Schuster Mega Crossword Puzzle
300 crossword puzzles, courtesy of the publishing company responsible for printing the first-ever collection of crossword puzzles.
The New York Times Monday Crossword Puzzles
This collection of easy puzzles is a solution for the Monday scaries.
Easy as Pie Crosswords
If you don’t want to work hard, this book gives you 72 puzzles that aren’t too easy or too hard.
Food for Thought Crosswords
This book is filled with food-related puns and themes that may leave you hungry after a couple of pages.
The Million Word Crossword Dictionary
Here’s a supersized crossword puzzle book that covers tens of thousands of celebrity names, TV shows, classic films, and more.
This collection of puzzles, cryptograms, and more is based on Black history and culture.