FeaturesWord Puzzles

Nothing like a good old word puzzle

This area of TheMetagrobologist is devoted to a wide range of puzzle related articles, including word puzzles, recreational mathematics, magic, sudoku, and apps.

Word Puzzles

I expect that most of us have enjoyed classic recreational puzzles at least once in our life. If you haven´t, then you´ve missed a fantastic way to exercise your mind and have a great time with friends, family or even by yourself. Although TheMetagrobologist is a huge fan of mechanical puzzles for educational and recreational use, we also frequently enjoy solving complex, therapeutic word, number and logic puzzles.

Word puzzles
How many word puzzles can you name? Many people will immediately name Scrabble, Crosswords, Kriss Kross, Jumble Word puzzle, and Cryptogram puzzles. In this article, we´ll go through the history of word puzzles and learn about the most popular and widespread word games in the world to train your brain and enhance your vocabulary.

It´s not very clear when word puzzles became a thing, as they probably started way before we had any interest in recording significant events or history. However, we know for sure the first crossword ever created was published in 1913 by a journalist from Liverpool named Arthur Wynne in the Sunday newspaper the New York World.

The crossword was actually pretty simple and easy to complete, probably because it was the first of its kind and not much innovation was included in the development process. (You can actually look it up online and solve it by yourself). If you fancy for a good and entertaining challenge, we recommend you give this crossword a try and brag to your friends you solved the first crossword ever created.


Are these brain teasers actually beneficial for you? Of course, they are! Researchers from all over the world have agreed numerous times that solving puzzles like crosswords are not only fun, they help people keep their mind and memory active at a wonderful pace for a longer period of time. It has been proposed that the chance of having a better memory are proportional to the regularity and amount of word puzzles you solve in your free time. So what are you waiting for then? Stop looking at your mobile device and find a good word puzzle to solve, not only will you have a nice time, but you will also benefit your cognitive abilities.

Word puzzles are also known to have a significant impact in the extensity of your vocabulary, as solving them makes your brain remember the meaning of the words without you even noticing. Just think about it, even if you can´t finish the puzzle, at least you will learn some new words in your vocabulary.

Who said relaxation isn´t necessary?

Solving word puzzles will also help you distract your mind from everyday stress. This way, your brain will be clear and fresh by the time you return to work or school. Relaxing doesn’t necessarily mean laying on your bed all day, as solving a good puzzle can release more stress than you thought it could.

I´m sure you all know a good amount of word puzzles that I may have never heard of, but the truth is some are more popular than others for many reasons, including difficulty, publicity, simplicity and attractiveness. If I went out and started asking people which are the most globally popular word puzzle, 99% would probably say crosswords. They have been around for so much time now, they are almost a must if you are looking for a healthy entertainment. Crosswords are such a simple yet marvellous concept, they just cannot be surpassed.

As popular and fun as they may be, crosswords are definitely not the only remarkable word puzzle out there, as we also have Scrabble. These particular game test your vocabulary and creativity, assuring you learn words by getting points and have a terrific time with your friends or family.

Another word puzzle that is as popular and classic as crosswords is the word finder. TheMetagrobologist has always been a particular fan of these, as it makes you search carefully for a given amount of words, which may sound pretty simple and unoriginal, but is sure to provide a great time if you invest a little of your time and patience.

Recommended Word Puzzles

We can wholeheartedly recommend a number of mechanical Letter Games. Take a look.

Pairs in Pears
Pairs in Pears

Pairs in Pears is a fast and fun word game that requires no pencil, paper or board. All you need is a table. It is a fun word game played with 4 alphabets each in a different pattern. One hand can be played in as little as five minutes. It is great for family fun as well as being educational. Bananagrams’ portability makes it perfect for travel. Just grab the pouch and go.

Pathwords Jr by Derrick Niedermann
Pathwords Jr

This clever word search puzzle brings the fun of our popular PathWords game to younger players! Players exercise verbal and spatial reasoning as they place Pentominoes-style puzzle pieces onto the challenge grid so the letters under each piece spell a word. PathWords Jr. engages young players and builds vocabulary skills with clever graphic hints and funny word play. An ideal game to instil a lifelong love of word puzzles and logic games.

Word A Round
Word a RoundWho knew that positioning a word in one continuous ring would make it so tricky to read? The challenge in WordARound is to quickly figure out where the word starts and to read it aloud before your opponents. The game seems so simple, but you’ll find yourself baffled as you race to spot and call out words!


Quiddler® is a beautiful word game with naturally smooth gameplay that plays fast. These are essentials for a successful game that few word games have. Using special cards, Quiddler® draws on one’s ability to combine letters into words. Players must combine their entire hand into words trying to use the highest point value letters. Quiddler® challenges you to do this first with three cards (round one), then with four, on up to ten cards in the last round. A bonus is given for both, the longest word, and the most words made by a player in each round. The average game takes 20-40 minutes.

PathwordsWinner of the Parent’s Choice Gold Award, and Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Toy Gold Seal Award. PathWords is the exciting new game that combines the best of Tetris® and Word Search! Place the puzzle pieces onto the selected challenge so the letters under each piece spell a word. Words are read forward or backwards – letters will not be scrambled. With 40 challenges from Beginner to Expert, PathWords appeals to both word game lovers and puzzle fanatics and will have you exercising your brain for hours!

Recommended Mechanical Word Puzzles

Word puzzles are not solely found in recreational magazines and books, many puzzle designers have found a use for words and letters in mechanical puzzles.

Lexomino Puzzles
Lexomino PuzzleLexomino Puzzles consist of pieces in the shape of letters of the alphabet. The goal of a Lexomino Puzzle is to fit those pieces into a rectangular box of a particular size. To fit them into the box’s volume, though, usually requires a lot of experimentation and interlocking of the pieces.

At Eric Harshbarger‘s website, he will take orders for Lexomino Puzzles where the letters used generally spell out a name. For example, if your name is “John Smith,” you can order the set of nine puzzle pieces: J-O-H-N-S-M-I-T-H. In addition to those pieces, I will construct a custom, wooden box of appropriate size into which you are to fit the pieces.

V-CUBE 3 Flat (3x3x3): Crossword Cube
V-Cube Crossword

A pretty difficult 3x3x3 rotational puzzle that combines crosswords with cubing. Intended for serious puzzlers and experienced cubers. Are you ready to take on the challenge?

The design is on V-CUBE 3 flat with a matte finish. This cube has exceptional quality and incredibly smooth rotation.

Alpha Snake 9
A unique Creative Crafthouse designed puzzle with Alpha logic by Ken Irvine of New Jersey. The objective is to rotate the blocks until each of the four long sides shows the letters A through I (with no repeats).

Alpha Snake 9

Arrange the 4 blocks so that each side shows a 4 letter word
Dammit by Dave Janelle

Stephane Chomine. Stephane has to-date a whopping 452 designs, click here to see them. The objective of this puzzle is to remove the 3 irregular shaped pieces within the rectangular frame and re-assemble them.

The word ‘EIGHT’ seems so innocent, so harmless, so devoid of either mystery or malice, doesn’t it? Don’t you believe it! Your job is to pack those five letters into each side of the tray, one supposedly “easy” and the other admittedly “hard.” Watch out, they’re tricky!

Easy Eight by Pavel Curtis

WitzEnd designed by Louis Toorenburg was a puzzle entered into the 2015 Puzzle Design Competition. The goal of this great looking puzzle is to arrange the 9 cubes in a 3×3 square and arrange the letters on each cube in such a way to make 16 three letter English words: six horizontally and vertically on both the top and bottom, as well as on the four exposed sides.

WitzEnd-Louis Toorenburg

Ox Blox also designed by Louis Toorenburg is a great looking mechanical puzzle consisting of eight cubes, with letters on all sides. The objective is to put 3,4,5 or 6 cubes together, to make English words. The words need to be on each of the four sides at the same time. The outward facing sides of the cubes are not involved.

OX BLOX-Louis Toorenburg

Other Word Puzzles

We present a further selection of mechanical word puzzles. Check them out using your favourite search engine and let us know your thoughts of any we have presented or others you have found.

    • Google designed by Tamas Vanyo.
      • HOPE designed by Diniar Namdarian.
      • Super-Hamilton designed by

Ed Pegg Jr.

    • Whiz of Oz designed by Louis Toorenburg.
    • 3D Silhouette H designed by Manabu Sato.
    • NZanity designed by Louis Toorenburg.
    IPP Sliding Piece Puzzle designed by Roland Koch.

So now that you are a little bit more knowledgeable about word puzzles, you should definitely go and find a game of your preference to have a good time and enhance your mental abilities. If you choose one you don’t like, you can just search another one, after all, you’ve got a tonne of amazing options!

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