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Tips for cracking Monday's crossword, from the puzzle's creator

Stan Newman, who has been creating the Newsday

Stan Newman, who has been creating the Newsday ExploreLI crossword puzzles for over 20 years, poses at his home in Amityville on Feb. 17. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

Newsday crossword regulars know that Mondays are the week’s easiest. If you think you lack "the knack" for crosswords, this article is meant for you. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how solver-friendly Mondays are, and I hope these pointers will entice you to give today’s puzzle a try.

Monday answers are all words that everyone should know, with a minimum of proper names. Clues are carefully phrased to point you directly to the answers, without ambiguity or trickery.

Follow these steps for successful Monday crossword solving. To play online, visit Newsday.com/crossword.

READ THE TITLE: You'll find a hint to what the longest answers have in common.

USE A PENCIL OR ERASABLE PEN: It'll help when needing to erase and replace answers.

START WITH ANSWERS YOU KNOW: Looking at today’s clues, you should recognize quite a few answers immediately. As you examine each clue, make sure you know what part of speech is being asked for, whether a noun answer will be singular or plural and what form of a verb is asked for — -ED, -ING, etc.

FOLLOW THE FILLL: Every filled-in letter is an extra hint to a clue in the other direction. The more answers you enter, the more hints you’ll get for additional answers.

If you’ve followed these steps, written in all the answers you can, and you're still stuck with blank squares:

— Try erasing (or deleting, if solving online) any answers you may be less than sure of, and take a fresh look at those clues. You can’t do that with a non-erasable pen.

— Try putting the puzzle down for a short time, then take a fresh look at it. Many find this helpful.

— It’s completely OK to "get help" if you need it. Seek aid from a dictionary/thesaurus, a friend, or the hint function of the online app. No, it’s not "cheating," and I highly recommend it as educational.

For additional tips, you’ll find a link to an expanded version of this article just above the Monday crossword at Newsday.com.

Have fun, and good luck!

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