Crossword vs. Scrabble: Which is best?

Crossword and Scrabble both involve the vocabulary knowledge of a player. However, both games are different in their own right. Which one is the best? Let us find out.

Crosswords are single-player word puzzles with square or rectangular grids with black and white squares on paper. The white squares are for the alphabets, whereas black boxes represent spaces. The challenge for you is to answer the list of clues and fill in all white squares with letters to form a word or a phrase. A Scrabble is also a word puzzle, but it is a board game that requires 2 to 4 players. The board has grids of 15x15 squares. Each player gets a set of tiles they can use to form words in the grids from top to bottom or left to right

There is a strong argument on which of the two are better, and both sides have strong points to prove their case. Both crossword and scrabble share certain similarities, but they are quite different in how you play the game. For instance, a crossword is a smaller activity that has a set solution, whereas you can make each scrabble game has random gameplay with no set outcome or solution. This article will look at the differences that set both these games winners in their own niche.

Table of contents


Scrabble vs. Crossword

Scrabble is a multi-player board game based on your knowledge of words. You can play against a competitor or make two teams of two players each. You can make a larger team if you want to.

The game’s board contains 15x15 grids, and you score points by placing tile of printed letters on the board. Each team or player must use the alphabet tiles to form words along the grid. The words you form must read from top to bottom in rows or left to right.

On the other hand, the crossword is a smaller word puzzle printed in books or newspapers. The grids contain black and white boxes. The white boxes are where you write the letters, while the black ones indicate blank spaces between letters or words. You have to create words by decoding the clues giving in a listicle format.

While crossword has a set solution, scrabble is an open end game with completely random gameplay every time. That said, let us have a look at what other factors set these word puzzles apart.

Crossword vs. Scrabble: The Differences

Now that you know the basics of both word puzzles and scrabble, lets us dive deeper into what makes these games differ from each other.


Scrabble makes an excellent gift for children and young adults to help them learn and spell new words. They can check the dictionary to form new words while also learning the meanings of the words. A crossword puzzle is more of a game of knowledge you already have. However, children-based crossword puzzles may provide limited chances to learn something new.

Who You Compete Against

When you attempt a crossword puzzle, you are competing against the puzzle itself. You solve the crossword by guessing the answers preset by the puzzle creator. For this, you get clues to help you guess the right answer. However, in scrabble, you go head to head with a friend or family member without clues or preset guidelines.

Puzzle on the Go

Both crossword and scrabble are portable. You can carry a crossword puzzle book in your hand or bag. A Scrabble board game is comparatively bigger in size, and you will need another player to compete against. Moreover, you will have to carry other accessories such as tiles.

Your Knowledge

As a player of the word domain, both crossword and scrabble may pique your interest. Playing either of these games will require you to have an extensive vocabulary and knowledge of words.

Crossword narrows down the words you need to search in your memory bank by decoding a specific clue. On the other hand, scrabble requires you to know a lot of words with their correct spelling. Although, you do not need to know the meaning of the word you create.

The Clues

When playing Scrabble, you will have to un-jumble a wide array of random letters to form the desired word. There are no clues and no set answers as such. Each scrabble gameplay is different from the previous one.

On the other hand, a crossword puzzle has a list of clues, each pointing to the right answer. You just need to decode them and write the correct word or phrase in the required grid. The puzzle creator sets the answers; hence the solution stays the same no matter who plays.

The solution

While crossword has a predetermined solution, Scrabble works on an entirely different principle. You get a random selection of letter tiles to form new words. Therefore, there is no definite answer or solution to a scrabble game.

You can use a dictionary in both games to find the correct answer. Sometimes the rules allow you to create words in other languages, but this is less likely to happen. In Crossword puzzles, sometimes the answer is a foreign language word equivalent to an English word. So, you have to keep your approach broad.


Crossword or scrabble, which one do you think is challenging to play? This depends on the type of game you are playing. For instance, a simple crossword may be a walk in the park for you, but cryptic ones can really challenge your critical thinking skills and word knowledge.

On the other hand, scrabble does not have any variants or levels of difficulties, so they are relatively easy with the same rules and gameplay every time.

The Cost

Every passion comes at a cost, but some are more expensive than others. Each crossword puzzle offers a one-time game experience. While you can solve them multiple times but what is the fun in that? If you want to challenge yourself and attempt another, you will have to buy one crossword or one puzzle book after another. Consequently, you will have to invest if you wish to play more.

Scrabble is a one-time investment. Once you buy the board game, you can play as many games as you like with whomever you want to play. Therefore, scrabble is the cheaper of the two.

Game Duration

Fancy a game in your spare time, such as tea breaks or lunch breaks? In that case, a crossword is an ideal activity. You can solve your crossword puzzle while munching in the cafeteria or during your commute to and from work. You can always leave the puzzle unsolved and get back at it when you have spare time next.

In scrabble, you cannot just lay down the board anywhere to play. First, you will need someone to play with; secondly, wrapping up the game means dismantling the word-formation on the board. Therefore, the point for ease of access goes to crossword.

The Age

Both crossword puzzles and scrabble are creations from the early 20th century. Arthur Wynne creator crossword puzzles in 1913. Alfred Mosher Butts created scrabble in the 1930s, and it was known as Lexiko at the time of its inception

If you are wondering whether to take crossword or scrabble as a gaming hobby, you have all the information about the similarities they share and the differences that set them apart. That said, both these games are a winner in their own right as they guarantee an intense brain workout to jog your memory and problem-solving skills.

Which one is best? That is for you to decide based on various factors such as portability, ease of access, cost, level of challenge, etc.

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