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Various Ways to Make a Word Search More Challenging to Play



There are many ways to make a word search extra challenging which are simple to implement and that can also make this type of puzzle more interesting and fun to do. A standard word search usually just consists of a list of words or terms that are to be found in a grid of letters in which there is no time limit. The rules though can vary and one or some of these ways of making this puzzle extra challenging can already be found in the rules of some forms of word searches. These ways of making this puzzle extra challenging would essentially, when implemented, be additional rules and the more of these rules that are implemented the more challenging the word search would become. These additional rules may also give you ideas and inspiration for creating your own ways of making a word search more challenging or fun to play and some of these rules may also work for other sorts of puzzles that you play as well.


A rule that is usually relatively easy to implement when doing a word search is adding a time limit or if there is already a time limit then shortening that time limit to make the time limit even more challenging. What this time limit should be set to exactly will depend on your abilities and the features and difficulty of the particular word search you are doing and also how much you want to challenge yourself. The greater your ability to solve a word search is and/or the less difficult the word search being done is then the less time you should allow yourself to solve it in order for it to be a challenge. The more terms there are that have to be found and/or the more letters that the grid contains then the more time you should allow yourself to do it. If the terms to be found in the grid you are doing have a lot of letters to them and/or you are unfamiliar with them and/or find them difficult to spell then this will make the word search more difficult and therefore the time limit should be less challenging and more time allowed when any of these are the case. It doesn't have to matter if all the terms are found within this time limit as the challenge can be to find as many of them if not all of them in the time limit you have set yourself. The more you set self-imposed time limits for word searches then the better you will get at determining what the time limit for yourself should be set to so that the time limit makes it as difficult as possible for you to successfully find all the terms in the grid that have to be found yet is still achievable for you to do this.


If doing a word search that is on paper then using a pen to mark the terms as found in the grid can make it more difficult to do because the ink markings from a pen cannot be as easily removed as pencil markings can when a mistake is made. The challenge could then be whilst doing the word search that is paper-based with a pen to try and not make any mistakes or as few mistakes as possible which means not incorrectly marking a letter in the grid with a pen as this letter doesn't belong to a term that has to be found in the grid. The temptation to cheat at this might be too great if this was tried with a pencil instead of a pen or highlighter as it would be too easy to remove the incorrectly marked letter(s) in the grid with an eraser. As this challenge puts an emphasis on not making any mistakes or trying to make as few mistakes as possible then this may result in the person doing it becoming very concentrated and this increased concentration could result in being able to find the hidden words more easily and quicker.


Another way of doing a word search that can make it extra challenging or at least a somewhat different experience is to not look at and know the list of words that have to be found and then try and find them all in the grid and once you think you have found all of them in the grid then go look and check this list in order to see how you have done. It can be very tricky to not accidentally look at this list before you have searched for what is on it in the grid and before you think you have found everything on this list in the grid as this list is usually right next to the grid. In order to not accidentally look at this list you may need someone else to cover the list up for you before you start the challenge or if you can't get someone else to cover the list up for you then try your best to focus completely on the grid when you first look at the word search and then try and cover the list up yourself whilst your gaze is focused entirely on the grid. The title of the word search could be looked at if the person doing this challenge needs help or a clue as to what the words they are looking for are or could be. However, looking at the title could basically just give away exactly what the terms to be found in the grid are, for example, if the title was months of the year and therefore it would probably be best to avoid looking at the title when doing this challenge as well to avoid any chance of this happening. Not knowing exactly what the terms are that have to be found in the grid can lead to terms being discovered in the grid that have not been intentionally put there but are in there by pure coincidence and discovering them is a bonus reward for doing this challenge. This challenge of not looking at the list of terms that have to be found in the word search until the person doing it thinks they have found them all will mean the person doing it is relying on their vocabulary and spelling skills to do this challenge successfully and the weaker these skills are the more difficult or impossible this challenge will be.


The terms that have to be found in a word search grid are almost always linked or connected to each other in some way and this way is usually referred to in the title or sometimes even described via sentence or paragraph. A fun bonus challenge for a word search puzzle can be to work out or just guess what connects the terms that need to be found by not looking at the title of the puzzle or any other information that would give this away except for obviously the list of words to be found and the grid. Sometimes, this will be very obvious and easy to decipher but there can be word searches in which there is no connection or at least no intended connection at all between the terms that have to be found and in this case that is what the answer would be. There are many ways that terms that have to be found in a word search can be connected or related to each other and occasionally by more than just one way so all the ways that you think they are or might be connected should be submitted as an answer. They can be linked or related by not just what they describe, mean or signify but also by such things as their spelling, the language they belong to, the type of words they are, how many letters they contain or their etymology. The broader the topic that relates the terms to be found in a word search is then usually the easier it is to guess this connection is as it will often be the first thing that pops into your head when looking at this group of words. On the other hand, the more niche the topic that relates them together is then the more difficult it can be to guess this connection because a topic that is very niche is more likely not to be common knowledge. A lack of knowledge about the terms that have to be found in the word search or that what relates them together along with not accidentally looking at anything to do with the puzzle that isn't the list of terms that have to be found or the grid will be the greatest difficulties or obstacles of this challenge. In order to overcome this problem of not accidentally seeing anything that would give away this challenge of determining what connects together the terms that have to be found in the word search then ideally you would get somebody else to cover up or remove from view in some way anything that isn't the list of words that have to be found in the word search or the grid and that would give away this challenge. If you can't find somebody else to do this for you then you will have to do it yourself by trying your best to focus your gaze purely on the grid and the list of words that have to be found in the word search and whilst doing this try to cover up or remove from view in some way yourself the rest of the puzzle.


Turning a word search upside down or rotating it 90 degrees either way and then attempting it can be a way to make this puzzle feel and look different than it normally does and also extra challenging. There are other word puzzles that involve upside-down or that have rotated 90-degree words or letters and if you have experience of these then it may and likely will help you with this word search challenge. That is because it can be very tricky, time-consuming and disorientating to read and recognize letters and words that are not their normal way up when you have little to no experience of ever having done this. That being said, it shouldn't take that much practice to get the hang of reading letters and words that are upside down or that have been rotated 90 degrees and the urge to turn the puzzle the normal way up should dissipate as well. There are even some letters that will stay the same when they are upside down depending on whether they are capitalised or not and the letter O stays the same no matter how much it is rotated which makes doing this challenge a little easier. Rotating a word search by 90 degrees or turning it upside down is very simple to do when it is paper-based and relatively straightforward to do if playing this puzzle on your phone or computer. If using a phone or tablet to do this puzzle then turn off auto rotate on the device you are using (how this is done will depend on the particular phone or tablet you are using) and then turn the actual tablet or phone upside down or rotate it 90 degrees to do this challenge. If you are using a laptop or PC and the word search you are playing is on a website or on another desktop application then simply pressing ctrl, alt and the down arrow altogether will flip the desktop view upside down and then by pressing ctrl, alt and the up arrow altogether the desktop view will always be returned to its normal right way up. Pressing ctrl, alt and the left arrow altogether will mean the desktop view is displayed as rotated 90 degrees to the left from the normal right way up and if you press ctrl, alt and the right arrow altogether then this will mean the desktop view is displayed as rotated 90 degrees to the right from the normal right way up.


An easy way of making a word search more difficult is to give yourself a time limit for memorizing the list of terms that have to be found in the grid and then cover up this list once this time limit is up so it can't be seen and then see how much of the list you can remember to find in the grid. The longer this list and/or the longer these terms on this list are the more difficult it will be to memorize this list completely and therefore more time should be given to memorize when a list is difficult to memorize so it is achievable to memorize all the words of the list and do this challenge successfully. The list of terms that have to be found in the word search can also be tricky to memorize when they are difficult to spell and/or the person doing this challenge isn't good at spelling. Unfamiliarity with a term can also make it challenging to memorize and it could be the case that the list of terms that need to be found in the word search may contain a lot of terms that the person doing it is unfamiliar with which would make this challenge potentially a lot more difficult. This challenge can still be possible to complete even if you forget anything from the list of words that have to be found in the grid as you can just look for any term you can find in the grid and then check at the end when you think you have completed the challenge if all the terms that you have found have indeed been found and correspond exactly with the list. It is just very important with this challenge to remember and memorize before the time limit, that you have given yourself, is up to know how many terms there are to be found in the word search so you will know when it is time to check if you have successfully found all the terms of the word search from memory. Memorising the list of words that have to be found in a word search can be a lot easier or even not necessary at all when they are very familiar to the person doing this challenge and they are strongly connected or commonly grouped together, for example, months of the year or farmyard animals. There does come a point when a word search would have so many terms to find that it wouldn't be possible to memorize them all in a relatively short amount of time unless the person doing it has a super memory. When there are a lot of terms to find, let's say 20 or more, and the person doing it doesn't have an exceptional memory then this person can either give themself a lot of time to memorize them before covering the list that contains them up and finding them or choose a word search which has less than 20 terms to find in it with which they can set themselves a short time limit to memorise them before covering them up and finding them.


Finding the terms of a word search in a particular order either in the order they are listed or the order of your choosing is an added rule you can set yourself that can be difficult to do especially in the early stages of doing it when no or only a few terms have been found. This challenge will mean having to look for one specific term at a time and then when found marking it off as found in the grid and where it is listed outside the grid before you can move on and do the same for the next term in the order you are doing them. This can be frustrating when you have found or think you have found other terms in the grid but have to ignore them or come back to them as they are not what you are currently looking for. As mentioned this challenge can be very difficult at the beginning when having to find only one term at a time especially if the grid being scoured through is large meaning it contains a lot of letters. This is because at this point none or very few of the letters of the grid will have been marked as belonging to a found term which means none or very few letters or parts of the grid have been eliminated yet as a place to look for a term which would have made finding a term easier. The order you can choose for yourself to find the terms of a word search could be alphabetical, associated with word length, random or just anything but the order they are normally ordered such as months of the year which is normally ordered from January to December. The list of terms that are to be found in the word search grid might already be listed in random order and if this list of terms are related to each other or can be grouped together and they have an order they are commonly put in then putting them in this order would be not only a way of doing this challenge but demonstrating your knowledge of these terms. An example of this would be if the list contained the seven days of the week which are commonly ordered from Monday to Sunday and by putting them and then searching for them in this order, if they had been listed in random order, would show your knowledge of these terms and the subject they belong to. This challenge of finding the terms of a word search in a specific order will likely mean it takes longer to do than when being able to just find them all in the grid at once and mark them off as found in any order and this can make this puzzle feel quite tedious to do. Searching for one term at a time though can simplify a word search and therefore make it more straightforward to solve and complete as it is easier to memorize, focus on and just keep in your head the one word you are looking for which should mean you won't have to constantly check the list to remember it or how it is spelt.


A bonus challenge when and after having found everything that has to be found in a word search could be to find terms that have been not put in the grid deliberately but just appear in there by coincidence which is a common occurrence with this puzzle. How many of these terms that appear in a word search unintentionally can vary and it might be the case that there are none or it could be just one. The more letters a grid has then the more chance there is there will exist terms that have been unintentionally placed in the grid and the more of these that there will likely be. Terms that appear unintentionally are very likely to be short ones that are three to four or maybe at a push five letters long and will unlikely be any longer than this. Any two-letter term that is found in the grid that has not been put there deliberately to be found and asked to be searched for, these sort of two-letter terms will likely be a common occurrence, should be ignored for this bonus challenge. Terms that are in the grid by pure coincidence and have not been intentionally put in there to be found will almost certainly not match the theme of the word search, if there is a theme, or be related/connected to the other terms that are meant to be found if even these other terms are related to each other. Sometimes there are terms put in a word search grid that are not listed outside the grid and/or asked to be found but deliberately put in the grid as secret bonus terms to be found which is why this challenge is always worth doing to check for this. These secret bonus terms that have been deliberately put in the grid could very well match the theme of the word search, if there is one, or be related/connected to the other terms that are listed outside the grid to be found.


A word search could be competed over with another person, such as a friend or family member, by finding out who can do it in the fastest time or by finding out who can find a particular term first and then see at the end of the puzzle when all the terms have been found who found them all first. The difficulty level of competing against another person over a word search puzzle is not only determined by the puzzle itself and your own abilities, which would be the case when doing this puzzle on your own, but also the ability of the person you are competing with. That is why when doing this challenge you want to be competing against somebody you have a chance to beat and who has a similar level to yourself to make this challenge as fun, engaging and challenging as possible. It is possible that a word search can have more than two people competing over it but the more competitors there are, that is competitors who have a similar ability or even higher ability than yourself, then the more difficult it will be to win and be the outright winner. The more difficult the word search that is being competed over is then the more likely it is that the person, of those competing, who is best at word searches will win out which is also the case for the more terms there are to find and the more letters there are in the grid. When a word search puzzle is being competed over then it can be the same puzzle is being shared and competed over at the same time by all those who are competing or it can be that the same puzzle is competed over but each competitor has their own copy of it to use and mark. If the challenge being competed over is the first person of those competing to find a specific term then this challenge can be and probably is best done with everybody sharing, looking at and competing over the exact same word search puzzle. However, if the challenge being competed over is who, of those competing, can do a specific word search puzzle in the fastest time then the contestants are all going to need their own copy of this specific puzzle to fill out and mark. When deciding on which challenge to compete over then a big reason to choose the challenge of which contestant can locate a specific term in the grid first is that the contestant with the least word search ability has a chance to succeed. This is because purely by chance a contestant doing this challenge might see the word that they need to find first before any other contestant does as this person just happened to, for no real reason, look at the part of the grid where the word to be found is located before anyone else did. On the other hand, if you want a challenge to compete over with other people that will most likely be determined by the contestant who has the best word search skills or ability then the challenge should be that whoever can do the word search in the fastest time wins.


Combining these challenges together can be a way to make a word search even more exciting and/or challenging to play than it would have been by having done it with just one of these challenges mentioned. Not all of these challenges mentioned will work that well together or can even be done together but having a time limit, which is one of the challenges mentioned, in combination with any of the other challenges mentioned should always work well. To know for sure which of these word search challenges will work well together or be the best combination will take trial and error as different people will take different levels of enjoyment from the different challenges and also how difficult the different challenges are for different people will differ as well. It is even possible to combine more than two of these mentioned challenges together but if this is done it can be difficult to keep track of all the different rules and tasks that have to be done by all of these challenges therefore it might be best to combine just two of these challenges together so that it is not overwhelming.


In summary, there are many ways of making a word search extra challenging and different to play from the standard way it is played and these ways are pretty simple to implement and understand but shouldn't really be tried if you are finding the normal way of doing this puzzle difficult to do. It will only be through trial and error that you will find which of these ways is most enjoyable or that is most challenging for you and whilst trying each of these different ways it may even help you to think of your own ways of making a word search extra challenging or different to play.

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