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For example, the answer to a clue labeled "17 Down" is entered with the first letter in the cell numbered "17", proceeding down from there.Numbers are almost never repeated; numbered cells are numbered consecutively, usually from left to right across each row, starting with the top row and proceeding downward.One of the smallest crosswords in general distribution is a 4×4 crossword compiled daily by John Wilmes, distributed online by USA Today as "Quick Cross" and by Universal Uclick as "Play Four".
"Free form" crosswords ("criss-cross" puzzles), which have simple, asymmetric designs, are often seen on school worksheets, children's menus, and other entertainment for children.
Grids forming shapes other than squares are also occasionally used. For example, many weekday newspaper puzzles (such as the American New York Times crossword puzzle) are 15×15 squares, while weekend puzzles may be 21×21, 23×23, or 25×25.
This ensures a proper name can have its initial capital letter checked with a non-capitalizable letter in the intersecting clue.
Diacritical markings in foreign loanwords (or foreign-language words appearing in English-language puzzles) are ignored for similar reasons.
Another tradition in puzzle design (in North America, India, and Britain particularly) is that the grid should have 180-degree rotational (also known as "radial") symmetry, so that its pattern appears the same if the paper is turned upside down.
Most puzzle designs also require that all white cells be orthogonally contiguous (that is, connected in one mass through shared sides, to form a single polyomino).
Crossword grids such as those appearing in most North American newspapers and magazines feature solid areas of white squares. is part of both an "across" word and a "down" word) and usually each answer must contain at least three letters.
In such puzzles shaded squares are typically limited to about one-sixth of the total.
In languages that are written left-to-right, the answer words and phrases are placed in the grid from left to right and from top to bottom.
The shaded squares are used to separate the words or phrases.