Beyond crosswords : Greek gods

Ancient Greek mythology influences modern life around the world. Video games, comic books, movies, and modern brands refer to the stories that where told over 2.000 years ago. Did you know that the name cereals, for example, comes from Ceres, the god of grain? Or that the Olympic games started as a way to honor Zeus? The Greek gods are everywhere, also in our crosswords.

If you are a crosswords lover but wonder what the Greek gods you keep fitting into your puzzles actually stand for, keep reading below! To help you with you puzzle, they are ordered by the amount of letters their names have.

3 letters

  • NYX
    Nyx is the goddess of the night. Mother to sleep (Hypnos), death (Thanatos), and darkness (Erebus). She can control the movement and rotation of the planets. End the day, and start the night. Nyx might sound like an evil and dark goddess, but she is far from that. Although other gods feared her, she is seen as a motherly and warm goddess by her family.
  • PAN
    Pan’s homeland is Arcadia, in Peloponnese. He is the God of the wild, the shepherds, and rustic music. That is why he is part goat and part man. Like Peter Pan, he enjoyed playing the pan flute. Which he invented. However, the word panic also derives from this God. Who could make us, humans, flee in uncontrollable fear.

4 letters

  • GAIA
    Gaia is the personification of earth. Mother earth. Gaia and Ouranos (sky or heaven) are the beginning of all Greek gods. She is the mother of the Titans, and grandmother to the Olympian Gods. Gaia in modern Greek still means earth.
  • ZEUS
    Zeus is not only one of the Greek gods that is most used in modern crosswords. Zeus is the Greek god, the king, the father of all gods and humans. He is technically the youngest son of the Titans Rhea and Cronos. However, his siblings ended up in their father’s stomach not long after birth. Because Cronos was afraid to be defeated by one of his children. Zeus, however, escaped this faith. He was brought up by a nymph and a goat in Crete. When he was strong enough, he defeated his father, after which his siblings were born again, this time from their father’s belly. Zeus became the king of the Greek gods.
  • ARES
    Ares is one of Zeus’ children. He is the god of war, the despicable characteristics of brutal warfare and slaughter. However, Ares is also known for his numerous love affairs. His main love was war, but he also fell for the married Aphrodite. Supposedly due to an arrow of the next man on this list.
  • EROS
    Eros is the god of love and appreciation. He was much like (the Roman) Cupid and used an arrow to the heart to make people fall in love. Eros’ origin is unknown. He is either the son of Aphrodite and Aros, the child of Nyx, or simply the fourth God. His name, however, is the origin of the terms erotic and erogenous.

5 letters

  • CHAOS
    We all know the word chaos, but do we know the God as well? Chaos is the personification of absolute nothingness. She was the first God, before the creation of the earth. Chaos is a void, but also a powerful energy from which everything is created.
  • HADES
    The oldest brother of Zeus (or youngest after Zeus freed his siblings from his father’s belly) is Hades, the god of the underworld. Hades likes to live in the dark and shadowed land of death. He owns a guard dog, with not two, but three heads. This dog helped Hades with his main tasks, protecting and keeping the souls of the dead.

6 letters

  • TITANS
    A Titan is not one god but instead the name of all the first-generation gods that came after Gaia (earth) and Ouranos (heaven or sky). However, together with the Olympics they are often the answers in crosswords on Greek gods. There are a total of twelve Titans in Greek mythology, six female and six male. Two siblings, Rhea and Cronos, are the parents of the Olympian Gods.
  • APOLLO
    Apollo is the god of light, music, poetry, healing, and prophecy. He is the only god that has the same name in Greek and Roman mythology. Visiting Greece today, you can visit no less than five temples dedicated to Apollo, all around the country.
  • HERMES
    A half-brother of Apollo is Hermes. The god of wealth, trade, thieves, and travelers. Hermes is often described as the messenger of the gods and the guide of the souls of the newly deceased. Hermes’ head was commonly used in a strange sculpture, a herm. A head on a tall square pillar, with male genitals at a height that fits human proportions. 

7 letters

  • DEMETER
    The first sister of Zeus in this list is Demeter. The goddess of agriculture and protector of trees, plants, and grains. She is one of the few Olympian gods that survived Roman times. She evolved into Saint Dimitria, the saint of agriculture. Today the name Demetrius still means devoted to Demeter. 
  • ARTEMIS
    Artemis is the goddess of hunting, wild animals, wilderness, and the twin sister of Apollo. Her father, Zeus, gave her eternal virginity. This allowed her to live without the disturbance of love, men, and marriage. Instead, she had sixty nymphs for friends, who all needed to remain virgins as well. Although Artemis did not have any children of her own, she protected women during pregnancy and childbirth.

8 letters

  • OLYMPIAN
    The twelve Titans, where followed by the next generation of Greek gods, the Olympians. Again this category contains 12 gods, of which the most powerful are Zeus, Poseidon and Hades. Their home was Mount Olympus.
  • POSEIDON
    Poseidon is the god of the sea, horses, and earthquakes. His nickname is the earth-shaker and his Roman alter-ego is Neptune. Poseidon created the island of Paxoi with his trident. Although Poseidon himself is human, his offspring is interesting. From a half-fish to a flying horse.
  • DIONYSUS
    Dionysus is a demi-god, someone half-human (his princess mother), and part god (his father is Zeus). Dionysus is the god of wine, viticulture ritual madness, and religious ecstasy. However, it is believed that this was his second self. In mythology, Dionysus is born twice, the first time he was a bearded old man. The second time as a youthful boy who loves to get drunk. 

9 letters

  • APHRODITE
    Aphrodite is the beautiful goddess of sexual love and beauty. She had many lovers and many children. The name Aphrodite means risen from the foam. Why? According to Greek mythology, Aphrodite was created from the foam that arose from the genitals of Uranus after he was thrown into the sea.

10 letters

  • HEPHAESTUS
    Where Aphrodite was created by her father’s genitals, Hephaestus has only a mother, Hera. This made him so ugly and deformed that he was banned from mount Olympus. Hephaestus grew up with mortals on the island of Lemnos. He became the god of fire and blacksmiths after he trapped his mother on a self-built golden throne for revanche.

Want to know more about Greek mythology

The English comedian Stephan Fry wrote a book about ancient Greek mythology. Mythos is a hilarious, understandable, and easy to read retelling of a selection of Greek myths.

I can recommend this book to anyone. Whether you’re interested in mythology or just want to enjoy a good story. And if you decide to buy this book through the link on the left, you support me to keep writing!

Do you want to prepare yourself for a visit to Greece? Or do you simply want to learn all there is to known about this beautiful country? Leave your email below and get the answer to all your questions!

Beyond crosswords: Greek vacation islands

The Greek islands are not just a popular holiday destination, but also often used in crosswords all over the world. Did you ever wonder what the difference is between the 5 letter words Corfu and Crete? Or if Kos is really as small as the mere 3 letters its name counts?

Here is an overview of the Greek islands used in crossword puzzles. Sorted by the number of letters, so you can easily find your answers. But don’t do just that. Maybe some islands will not fit your puzzle today, they might point you to the destination for your next holiday!

3 letters

  • KOS
    Kos lies in the South East of the Aegean sea, close to Turkey and part of the Dodecanese. It is an average-sized island, around 290 km², more than 70.000 acres. Kos is famous for its beaches but is also full of historic landmarks.
  • IOS
    Ios lies in the middle of the Aegean sea and is part of the Cyclades. It is an average – small island, around 100 km², close to 27.000 acres. Ios is known for its vibrant nightlife but also has clear waters and picturesque cliff-top villages.

4 letters

  • EVIA
    This island might have a small name, it is 3.684 km², or 900.000 acres big. Evia, or Euboea, lies North of Athens, in the Aegean sea but is connected to the mainland by bridges. Evia is not well known by foreign tourists, but instead is the perfect getaway for people who work and live in Athens. Unfortunately, large parts of northern Evia were completely destroyed by the 2021 wildfires.
  • PAXI
    Paxi is a small paradise in the Ionian Sea, located just under the island of Corfu. It is only 30 km² or 7.000 acres. Paxi is known for its old olive trees and clear blue sea, some say the best in Greece.
daylight entering a cave in Greece white stone blue sea

5 letters – The Greek islands most used in crosswords

  • CORFU
    Corfu, or Kerkyra in Greek, as well as Crete, are two islands that are often used in crosswords, but do you know the difference between them? Corfu is a lush green island in the North West of Greece, in the Ionian Sea. The island is 585 km², 145.000 acres. Corfu has a strong Venetian influence and is the only Greek island that has never been occupied by the Ottomans. Corfu is famous for its architecture but has great beaches and hiking trails as well.
  • CRETE
    Crete is the most Southern island of Greece and also the biggest with 8.450 km² (over 2 million acres!). Crete has its own sea, the Creten Sea. Crete is so big that it is not just famous for one thing but instead has everything. There are places to go for nightlife, but also areas with untouched nature. There are great beaches, tasty food, and rich and welcoming culture. Because Crete is the most Southern island, it has the warmest climate of whole Greece, temperatures rarely drop below 15 degrees Celsius, or 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • NAXOS
    Naxos lies in the middle of the Aegean sea and is part of the Cyclades. It is an average-large-sized island, around 430km², close to 100.000 acres. Naxos is known for its white sandy beaches and ideal wind conditions for watersports.

Do you want to prepare yourself for a visit to Greece? Or do you simply want to learn all there is to known about this beautiful country? Leave your email below and get the answer to all your questions!

6 letters

  • RHODES
    Rhodes is close to Kos, in the East of the Aegean. It is the largest island in the Dodecanese with its 1.400 km², 346.000 acres. Rhodes is known for its beach resorts and ancient ruins and is a popular summer holiday destination.
  • LESBOS
    Although this name might make children giggle, the meaning of Lesvos in Greek is forested or woody. Lesbos is famous for its agriculture and cheese. Due to its location close to Turkey, Lesbos was the place where refugees used to enter Greece. This made the island very unpopular for tourists, who started returning over the last few years. Lesbos is a large island with 1.600 km², over 400.000 acres.

7 letters

  • MYKONOS
    Mykonos is famous all over the world. It is an average-sized island of 105 km² (26.000 acres) and is part of the Cyclades in the Aegean sea. Mykonos is an expensive party island known to be gay-friendly. “The Island of the Winds” is a nickname of Mykonos, due to the strong Meltemi winds that usually blow.
  • THASSOS
    Thassos is a pretty large but mostly unknown island in the North of the Aegean sea. The island is 380 km² (94.000 acres) and filled with lush green forests. The beaches here are sand, pebble, and even marble. Thassos is a paradise in the North.
underwater at sea in Greece, blue and clear like a swimming pool

8 letters

  • SKIATHOS
    The Sporades, which also counts 8 letters, is the name of the island group to which Skiathos and Skopelos belong. They are located just North of Evia, above Athens. Skiathos is the biggest of the Sporades, but still only 50 km² (12.000 acres). Skiathos is known for its sandy beaches and beautiful nature. Both Skiathos and Skopelos are famous for being the decor of Mamma Mia, the movie from 2007.
  • SKOPELOS
    Skopelos is slightly bigger than Skiathos, 95 km² (23.000 acres). However, the island is quieter and less visited. Again sandy beaches and the beauty of nature is what attracts tourist to come here. Skopelos is famous for the church Agios Ioannis Kastri. A small white church on top of a rock, overlooking the coast of Skopelos and Alonissos, which takes us to the 9.letter islands.

9 letters

  • SANTORINI
    Santorini is a natural wonder. This special island is the only inhabited caldera in the entire world and the perfect place for a honeymoon in Greece. The island’s land is shaped by a volcano eruption and is just 76 km² (19.000 acres). Santorini is known for its sunset and picturesque white-washed villages. But also its landscape is unique, and is made up of black, red, and white lava.
  • ZAKYNTHOS
    This Ionian party island is large, 405 km², or 100.000 acres). It is mostly known for its famous shipwreck beach but this is just a small part of what Zakynthos has to offer. Like other Ionian islands, the island is green with steep white cliffs and the water of the sea is blue and clear.

10 letters

  • CEPHALONIA
    Cephalonia is a large island west of Greece’s mainland. It is 786 km² big (194.000 acres) and the largest in the Ionian sea, but not the most famous. Unfortunately, not many tourists explore the full beauty of this island. Cephalonia is home to amazing beaches, nymph caves, and endangered sea turtles. The island is known for its wine, sweets, and food amongst the Greeks.
  • SAMOTHRACE
    Samothrace is the place to be for Greeks in their twenties. The island is a giant mountain with lush green forests and clear water streams with ponds and waterfalls. The islands’ landscape is unspoiled and wild. Samothrace is 178 km² big (44.000 acres), but the land is basically a mountain of 1.6 km high (1 mile).

11 letters

  • ELAFONISSOS
    The smallest island on this list of Greek islands, has the highest amount of letters in your crosswords. Elafonissos is just 18 km² or almost 4.400 acres. Making a round along the entire island by car, will not take you more than 20 minutes. Elafonissos lies close to Neapoli, in the South of Peleponnese, at the borders of the Aegean and Ionian seas. It is known for its beautiful waters and white sandy beaches.

Read more about Greek islands:

Travel guide to Lemnos, Greece

Lemnos, or Limnos, is an island in the Aegean Sea, in the northeast of Greece. With just 476 square kilometers of land, it is not very big but enough to make one of the most surprising islands in the North…