I mentioned previously that a lot of constructors (and people in general), really don’t care about the number of Across and Down entries that are in a crossword. However, the key metric people do care about is the total number of words. This post aims to instruct in an easy way to determine that without counting clues.

The WSJ 12/26 grid, Our Example


1. Start by locating the largest number in the list of clues. In this case, this one is 60. This is almost always the Across listings.

2. Locate all the clues with a number in common and count those. I have highlighted all of them in this grid that are common. There are 12 of those.

3. Simply add the two numbers together. 60+12 = 72. There are 72 words in this grid.


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