Word searches can be a particularly frustrating type of puzzle because all the answers are right in front of you, yet you may still struggle to spot them. While there’s no magic trick that will help you find every word immediately (without looking at the answers at the bottom, that is), there are some things you can do that will make solving the puzzle somewhat easier.
- Find the smallest words first. While the longer words might be easier to see, it’ll be significantly harder finding the shorter words after the puzzle is covered in criss-crossing lines from previously circled answers. By all means, circle any answers you happen to find along the way, but do your best to leave the longest words for last, as they’ll be the easiest to find.
- Scan the puzzle. Conversely, don’t look hard for any word in particular at first. Just look over the puzzle. When you’re not concentrating on finding specific answers, you may find that answers will jump out at you.
- Look for letter patterns. Look at the words you need to find. Do you see any unique letter arrangements in any of them? For example, if one of the words in question is “matter,” instead of looking for the letter M, try looking around the puzzle for two T’s next to one another. Also, if an answer has a less common letter in it, such as X or Z, it’ll probably stick out a more than would the other words.
- Be wary of “false” answers. Have you ever thought you found an answer in a word search and began circling it, only to find out that the fourth or fifth letter is incorrect? This is a common pitfall in word searches (sometimes intentional, sometimes coincidental). Be sure you read the letters from beginning to end once you find it, to ensure it’s the answer. Unless you’re using a pencil, half-circling the wrong word just means unnecessary ink obstructing your view of other possible answers. On this same note, sometimes a false answer can lead to a different real one. Keep your eyes peeled.
Maybe words searches aren’t the biggest brain-teasers in the world, but being able to finish one (or finish one a little faster) can make you feel like a genius. Bring out a pen and a puzzle, and give the four tips listed above a go!