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Learning To Solve Codewords

Learning to solve codewords takes patience: they are one puzzle type that you definitely get better at over time, and can find extremely difficult the first few puzzles you solve. After that you will find tactics that work for you, and will be able to solve puzzles a lot more easily.

So whilst you are learning, then what techniques should you use? The first tactic is the obvious one - enter the letters that you are given, and be sure everytime you have a new letter to enter it everywhere it appears in the grid (the benefit of the online solver here is that we do this automatically for you).

The second technique is to scan the grid after every new piece of information - every tun - and see if you can only think of one word that fits that pattern: if so, then you can place it in. Of course if you are uncertain then you can use pencil. Or the technique most people use, before entering a word - unless they are absolutely certain it is the only option - is to say 'what if': look at the letters that the word will add to the grid, see in your head where else those go, and see if they make any impossible word patterns: if they do, then you know that you have not found the correct word yet.

Use letter frequencies to also help you solve the puzzles: we won't go into this more here, because there is a full blog entry on this in another post here at Wordy Puzzle.

Various other things to look at include looking for unusual word patterns: for instance if you see the same number repeated several times in a word, then you know that that letter is much more likely to be some than others - and typically a vowel such as 'A' or 'E'. If vowels are placed, then you can also get an idea to the possible consonants, as some 'double up' a lot more often than others - how many words have a double J or a double X in for instance, compared to a double L, S or T?

Remember that Y often appears at the end of a word, and indeed G does also - if you notice a few words that end with the same three numbers, like 1,2,3 appears in various places, then it is quite possible that the words are ending in the same letter pattern: for instance ISE or maybe ING.

You'll find your own little tips and tricks when solving codeword puzzles over time, which is half the fun, but if at first you find the puzzles a little impenetrable, do keep at them: they can be a very rewarding solve, and some people swear by solving a codeword daily whether online or in their newspaper of choice.
Date written: 26 Mar 2015



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