The most challenging newspaper crossword puzzles

Whether you’re trying to keep your brain active, improve your memory, or simply just pass some time, one of the most popular ways to do this is with different types of puzzles, commonly found in newspapers and magazines. These days you can find many different kinds, from crossword puzzles to sudoku and brain teasers, and they all have various levels of difficulty. If you’re really looking for a challenge, then check out our list of the most difficult puzzles and where you can find them. If you want to save money on your next newspaper subscription, with The Telegraph, then check out BravoVoucher at for some unmissable deals

The Guardian

Last year, The Guardian newspaper released what was said to be their most difficult crossword puzzle ever. It was a rather unusual puzzle, with 12 riddles all of which were linked to a new £50 note that featured mathematician and codebreaker, Alan Turing. It’s thought that this special edition of the Guardian crossword could take an experienced puzzler up to 7 hours to complete! Although this was a special edition, the puzzles you’ll find in the Guardian will definitely test you. 

The Telegraph

This newspaper is thought to be the first-ever in the UK to introduce crossword puzzles, back in 1925. It’s clear that their popularity has continued to the present day, and it’s still a hugely popular pastime for many Brits. The Telegraph has a great selection of daily puzzles so you can choose from quick or cryptic crosswords, varying levels of Suduko, or test your general knowledge in a quiz. They publish some simpler puzzles as well as the well-known “Toughie” crossword designed by some top compilers. 


If you fancy yourself as a Suduko expert or prefer number puzzles instead of words, you can put yourself to the test with some of the toughest Suduko challenges around. Suduko is a very popular Japanese number game that can improve your memory, concentration, and logical thinking skills. Every day in the Metro there’s a new page of puzzles so you can get your brain in gear while you travel to work or relax on the way home after a long day. 

The Daily Mirror

In general, cryptic crossword puzzles are the most difficult and The Mirror published was said to be one of the most challenging in 2018. It was created by cryptic expert Marc Brenan, who said that for most people to complete this crossword puzzle, it was virtually impossible, while for experts it could take up to 2 years to complete. If you fancy a real challenge, the original version can still be downloaded online. 

The New York Times

This crossword puzzle is great for a weekly mental workout. It starts off easier on Monday, to ease you into the week, and once your brain is trained by the end of the week, you’ll be ready to tackle the harder clues on Saturday. If you’re interested in taking up this new hobby and want to learn some important tips and strategies for completing your next crossword, you can find lots of ideas, tricks and inspiration in this New York Times article

Our last tip: don’t worry if you get addicted! There’s evidence to suggest that crossword puzzles in particular have a range of health benefits. Of course, they can help you to increase your general knowledge and vocabulary base, as well as improve your mood, and are a really great way to relieve stress. Also, especially if you’re a beginner, don’t be afraid to ask for help from a friend or relative or take a sneaky peak at the answers if you’re really stuck!