Crosswords have existed since the dawn of time. Well, maybe not. Okay, word squares have existed for thousands of years (there, that's more accurate). Crosswords have been around slightly over ninety years. The rules of how they are built, clued, and solved have slowly evolved over time. Building and clueing are separate artisan skills, just as being a composer and being a lyricist are different. Solving is akin to playing detective, deconstructing the puzzle that has been created for you.
Or, if you prefer, solving is just clean fun, if your definition of “clean fun” includes a walk through trivia and puns. Some clues are straight, where a synonym is being sought. Some are a bit more of a riddle, analogy, or trivia. Basically, the idea is to give you a bit of a workout, where you're not doing the same thing the whole time. There should be eurekas, laughs, and an occasional pun groan.
Sometimes, a clue might parse differently than you first read it. For instance, “Shed items” might be “rakes,” “hoes,” or “mowers,” but might also be “tears” or even “undress.” These are legal tricks of the trade.
Last, if you want to try your hand at constructing, you might not even want to use all of the clues. It might be more fun to fill some in, then see how you'd finish the grid off on your own. Of course, you won't get to appreciate all of the clues if you do this. But, it can be educational.
Well, time to get going, so saddle up, turn the crank, taxi down the runway, undo the moorings, release the parking brake, stoke the fires, or whatever else is necessary to start your journey through The Everything® Travel Crosswords Book!