Historically, we know that the crossword came before the codeword. I know what you are thinking, it was Arthur Wynne who started the crossword movement back in 1913… the crossword definitely has to come first.
However, as a crossword and codeword compiler, I am wondering if it might have been easier to create the codeword first. Codewords (or code-breakers as they are often called) are essentially crossword puzzles in reverse, and I often think being able to do them before a crossword would be more helpful. Learning to solve codewords before moving on to crosswords may be an easier progression.
Solving codeword puzzles helps boost vocabulary
When learning to solve codewords, it is actually more important to get the basics of word structure and spelling rules clear. You will be pleased to hear that good vocabulary is not a pre-requisite for solving codewords. Although they look complicated, they are really focusing on the skill of teaching you new words. The numerical code acts as a word builder. Once Once you have cracked the code and deciphered all the words in the grid, you can study which words you are familiar with, and which ones you aren’t
Random letters are your only clues
Codewords are logic puzzles with grids, The given letters with which you are provided in a codeword are the clues to get you started. When solving a codeword, you really don’t have to be able to spell, or have a lot of word and meanings in your head. These fun logic games are an intellectually challenging and entertaining activity you can do during your leisure time, or on the daily commute to work.
Deciphering Numerical Sequences
With a basic knowledge of the English language, you can look for basic patterns within the number sequences. There is a lot more room for experimentation with different letter combinations, not to say trial and error. Double numbers might indicate TT, LL or EE. Common word endings might include ION, EST, ING. Some codeword puzzlers often say to me they count the letters to determine which is used the most often, usually A or E. Once you have correctly determined what one word is, and you crack the code, the rest fits together like a jigsaw puzzle. Instead of having to think of a word and a meaning, the word appears in the puzzle in front of you. You might say, I’ve never heard that word below, but if you go to the next step, and look it up in the dictionary, you will be actively boosting and enhancing your vocabulary. The next time you come across it in a codeword or crossword puzzle, you will remember. This is one of the many benefits of solving crossword and codeword puzzles.
Enjoy Codebreaking Fun!
Do you like the idea of being a wartime code-breaker in Intelligence? All very hush-hush, with a constant air of intrigue and mystery; working through the clues logically, piece by piece. Then the codeword is probably for you.