Arrow Words have now firmly established themselves as the number one development from the crossword format over the last forty years. They started life when they appeared in specialist puzzle books in Sweden and their popularity soon spread throughout Europe, contributing to the major puzzles boom in the UK in the 1980s. Instead of having Across and Down clues printed separately in columns, Arrow Words have their clues inside those squares of the grid which would otherwise have been blacked in, so as to separate the answer words.

      There is something very satisfying about this compact format: the clues are concise, and they’re right there where they’re needed, saving the solver the chore of scanning up and down rows of clues, or of trying to make out tiny clue numbers in the grid. Arrows leading from the clue boxes indicate the directions in which the solutions should be entered so that they interlock in the same way as a conventional crossword.

      While crosswords have all manner of conventions about symmetrical patterns of black squares, long-winded cryptic clues and so on, Arrow Words, by their very nature, dispense with these niceties: the clues need to be short and snappy to fit in their boxes, and the absence of symmetry lends itself to the inclusion of picture clues or photographs of celebrities, whose names may appear among the answers.

      Popular with young and old alike, these puzzles are great for competitions, and in the hustle and bustle of modern life, they’re easy to pick up and browse, or to put down and then come back to. Compact, concise and portable, it seems that Arrow Words are right on target for the next generation!