Crosswords Puzzles: A brief description

Different word puzzles and crosswords of various types are a famous form of entertainment that is perfect for everyone regardless their age, interests or mindset. Crossword makers cater for all groups of interest the general audience can be categorized into many divisions, so you can easily find any crossword type that seems to be the most attractive to you; it may be a Scandinavian crossword, a classical crossword or one with given words that you have to fill in the blank fields.

However, there is an exciting and fabulous word puzzle that is perfect for anyone ranging from all age groups to kids to adults - it is word search. In case doing crosswords is you main hobby, you must be very well aware what it stands for. Some may confuse it with other crossword types alike, but word search is generally considered to be slightly less complicated while being not at all less exciting at the same time.

At first it looks like a total mess made of random letters, but once you are attentive enough, you will notice they shape the words from a suggested list. Letters appear to you in horizontal and vertical lines and there is no certain order they should be crossed out in, so it may appear to be confusing for you at first. However, with just a small effort you will get it instantly finished, just remember to be creative, search new ways and approaches to the puzzle. As all the words are already given and you don't have to invent anything new, you will definitely end up being proud of solving a puzzle that is new to you and most likely want more.

Word games are available online for challenge and fun. There are many sites that offer them. Some of the game types include search type games and letter guessing - similar to Hangman. There are crosswords and skill-based ones as well. Finally, there are speed-based ones that depend on rapid and accurate selection of words and letters to win:

Search Games
With this type, there are words concealed in either a maze or crossword style board. The player has to find the hidden words, usually from a provided word list. Since parts of the words are in the hidden letters, but not always the complete one, it takes a lot of skill and visual discrimination to pick out the complete words.

Letter Guessing
The classic hangman is just one version of this genre. Often there is a theme, such as jungle themes, or monkey, kangaroo themes, or other similar themes. The object is to complete the word by guessing letters that fit into the pattern before using up all the chances and hanging the man, or dismembering the monkey or kangaroo. The special skill required here is the ability to recognize common letter pairs and word patterns.

Crosswords are very old word games. They have been around for centuries. The words must fit into a pattern, with dissecting letters fitting into the word, making a word as well. Some have themes formed from the blacked out spaces. There are symmetrical and asymmetrical patterns. Clues given help determine which word goes into which space. Working back and forth between the clues and the crossword diagram helps to figure out more difficult words and clues.

Skill Based
These genres test your vocabulary prowess and your skill at word building. Some require you to guess a word within a certain number of attempts, using deductive reasoning skills to determine the word. Others have story scenarios where a character is rescued with word guessing. Others connect letters in a certain pattern to make the required word.

Speed Based
Word games that depend on speed give an exceptional challenge. The player must think of legitimate words, but must do so within a time constraint. Different story scenarios are set up, such as a haunted house that you have to guess a certain number of words before time runs out to get out of the house. The time crunch lends a bonus challenge that some people thrive on.

Needless to say, it can considerably develop your logical thinking - a skill that will give you many privileges in any sphere of everyday activity. And once your word puzzle is thematic, you can do three different things at the very same moment - have fun, refine your thinking and learn something new in a particular field of knowledge. That is what makes word search a popular assignment for school students - it can be much more effective than simply cramming, as the kids get all interested and involved. Foreign language students, especially those who have difficulties with selling, have got to appreciate the above mentioned benefits of word search, too.

Nevertheless, don't you agree that it is very hard to find a unique word search for yourself or your kid in this particular case? Don't worry, a simple solution is still available - you can make one on your own. A word search generator that you can get onto your computer is designed with this purpose, a ready categorized word bank being its main benefit. The puzzle size is also for you to decide, considering that such software usually performs fairly quickly, and creating a crossword that will keep you occupied for the whole evening won't take you long. And then it is up to you what to do next - print it out and solve it right away, give it to your kids to keep them occupied, leave it for a long bus travel on the way from home to work or make a competition with your friends who will be the first to figure. 

Puzzles can be a real aid in helping you improve your mind. That's the story, anyway, but what is the reasoning behind it? It depends on what kind of puzzles you do. Word searches are fine, but they are really done to relax, and not to mostly sharpen your mind. You really have to get beyond the easy puzzles to reap the greater mental rewards of doing puzzles. The "gold standard" of crossword puzzles in the United States is the Sunday New York Times Crossword Puzzle. Most people do not know this, but the Friday and Saturday NYT Crossword puzzles are harder than the Sunday puzzle. Sometimes much harder.

One thing that you will found on many or the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzles, at least over the last few years since I started doing them, is that there will often be a mention of something that appears in the NYT that day. Often it's from the magazine section. This is a very cool thing the NYT does. It reinforces what you've read that day. And this is one of the things that I believe puzzles help your mind with. Any time you cross-reference information in your mind, you are building connections. These are sometimes referred to as "neural pathways."

Solving crosswords can be a perfect way to develop thinking habits. Often you think you may have an answer, because it seems like it fits, but if you aren't sure, and you can't corroborate the answer, it's best to pencil it in lightly (or not at all, and just keep it in the back of your mind.) Filling in the answer because you "think its right" can mess you up later by preventing you from coming up with the correct answers to the clues that cross the answer that you filled in wrongly. That's sort of like math. If you are doing an equation, and you're not sure of part of the answer, then you will probably be screwing things up more and more as you base your reasoning on a false assumption. Puzzles and math help you develop much clearer and cleaner thinking habits.

As much as everyone like puzzles, we have come to think of math as about the ultimate puzzle. Not in the sense of it being confusing (because by its nature it aims at reducing confusion and creating clarity), but in the sense that it has logical rules but requires creativity to understand and use in any meaningful sense. If you like to sharpen your mind, make yourself more mentally resilient, learn something useful, and have a good time doing it, we don't think you can do better than learn math and mathematical philosophy.

So, take the learning forward and try to innovate and play with the new methods of attaining it. This will not only add up to your knowledge but do add up in your personality as well. The crosswords have come a long way after surviving and mark their existence in the sands of time, so do look forward for the same and mark your future with bright words.


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