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Introduction To Wordwheel Puzzles

Word wheel puzzles are one of the simplest of all word puzzles, and belong to the set of word puzzles that are, essentially, anagrams.

If you have ever played the game Countdown, then you will know the aim is to find the single longest word you can from the set of letters given: a pure anagram puzzle.

With the word wheel, the idea is similar, but with two differences:

Firstly, you have to find as many words as you can, within the restrictions of the puzzle, as outlined below.

Secondly, every word that you find must use the central letter. It is worth noting that there is usually at least one word that uses every letter given. Therefore many solvers like to focus purely on finding the word that uses all the letters, rather than looking for all the smaller words too, which of course can take quite a lot longer, particularly if the puzzle has many common letters and therefore there are a large number of words that can be made from the wheel.

Now, the rules of the game vary from publication to publication. The most common rule is that words must be of three or more letters to count as valid, although some newspapers specify you must make words of at least four letters.

Plurals are virtually always banned, as are proper nouns. Some publications go further still and ban certain parts of a verb and more besides. Other publications have more open-ended rules and just ask you to find as many words as you can, and don't explicitly ban proper nouns or plurals.

Many puzzles have word targets in place, for instance what counts as a good score, an excellent score, and so on. These are just a guide and are usually set based on a certain percentage of the total number of words to be found in the puzzle. Some solvers like to challenge themselves to beat these targets, whilst others are quite happy just to find as many words as they can.

Our online puzzles are mainly six-letter words, and differ in that we tell you exactly how many words we want you to find. We also list the boxes in increasing letter length and also in alphabetical order, to make it easier for you to keep track of which words you need to find. Often we don't request an exhaustive list of the words that can be made, but tend to stick to more common words to make the puzzles fairer to solve.

And really that is all that there is to the wordwheel puzzle. There are a couple of different ways of tackling these puzzles, and these are outlined in our Wordy Puzzle blog entry entitled tips on solving wordwheel puzzles.

If you have any questions on the rules of wordwheels, then please do paste them below and we'll see if we or other members can help.
Date written: 25 Mar 2015

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