First, take a deep breath...
Take a look at the thread "Help for Newcomers" on page 3 of the thread list. Also helpful are "coulda woulda" and "obnoxiously difficult quotes". I'm sure there are other useful hints in the threads. The main page of the site also has hints, but if you're logged in when you read it, the time you spend reading will count towards the crypto on that page.
Good luck. It does get easier, the more you do puzzles.
Slotted spoons don't hold much soup. - Stephen Sondheim