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Why No Wordsearch At Wordy Puzzle

We have a huge range of word puzzles here at Wordy Puzzle, representing all the major puzzle types. All of them, that is, apart from the wordsearch puzzle. Just in case you've not come across it before, a wordsearch is a simple word puzzle that features a grid of letters, and a list of words to find in the grid.

The words can be hidden in various different ways. In a standard wordsearch, the words are hidden forwards and backwards, either horizontally, vertically or diagonally. There are some variants of the wordsearch out there - these either have a shaped grid but the rules are the same, or potentially don't have straight line answers but have the answers, for instance, in the shape of the letter O or perhaps S, or some other pattern, as defined at the start of the puzzle.

So why do we not have any wordsearch puzzles here at wordy puzzle when we have all the other major word puzzle types here?

There are a couple of reasons for this:

Firstly, a wordsearch puzzle is, counter-intuitively, not really about words in the way that most other word puzzles are. The words can be replaced with numbers or strings of symbols, and nothing changes. You don't need to know what any of the words mean to solve a wordsearch and your knowledge or vocabulary of words is not tested in any way. Thus you could solve a wordsearch in a foreign language without knowing what any of the words mean just as well as you could solve an English language wordsearch. Likewise if the letters were replaced with numbers, in the puzzle called number search, then again it functions in exactly the same way: you just match the pattern of numbers as opposed to letters in the grid, and are equally able to get to the answer. Actually number search are generally harder than wordsearch because there are only ten possible numbers compared to 26 possible letters, so there is more noise in the grid and there are usually more false starts. Also numbers are less memorable than words, making these puzzles hard to solve too.

Because of this factor, we don't have wordsearch puzzles here. They are a fantastic and fun puzzle, but because they don't test your knowledge of vocabulary, spelling or general knowledge, they don't feature here.

The second reason is that it is very hard to build a good interface to solve wordsearch puzzles - the interface usually gets in the way of the solve rather than helping with it. Indeed, trying to create a circle and drag it out over the correct word can be rather cumbersome online, whereas solving with pen and paper is much more intuitive, or using a highlighter. In contrast, the online solving tools we have for many word puzzles either add to the process or make solving the puzzle just as easy as with paper and pen, something that wouldn't be possible with the wordsearch puzzle.

These are the two major reasons why we don't feature wordsearch puzzles here at wordy puzzle.

Date written: 21 Jun 2015

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