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. It is also very satisfying to know that you are actively honing your spelling skills and boosting your vocabulary at the same time. Join the Clue Detective’s new Morphologist’s Club today!
Enjoy codebreaking fun!
You will be pleased to hear that good vocabulary is not a pre-requisite for solving codewords. What you need to do is hone your morphology skills first. What is morphology I hear you ask? It is (in linguistical terms) the study of word structure. When learning to solve codewords, it is more important to get the basics of word structure and spelling rules clear in your mind. Although they look complicated, solving codewords is a great way to focusing on the skill of teaching yourself new words. The numerical code acts as a word builder. 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 are not.
Random letters are your only clues
Codewords are logic puzzles with grids. With a crossword, you have a list of quick, cryptic, or general knowledge clues to work through. With a codeword you are given several random, albeit strategically placed letters within the grid. When solving a codeword, you are using your knowledge of the structure words to crack the code. These fun logic games are an intellectually challenging and entertaining activity you can do increase your vocabulary.
Look for numerical patterns
Always keep an eye out for the same numerical sequence in the grid, as this indicates the same letter sequence. Once you have correctly determined what a word is, you can crack the code.
Here are some examples:
Double numbers (e.g., 17 17) might indicate TT, LL, or EE, OO.
Common word beginnings (prefixes) such as DIS (2,4,6) UN (1,2), ANTI (5,10,15,20)
Common word endings (suffixes) such as ION (1,2,3), EST (14,21,26), ING (6,8,10), LESS (3,6,9,9).
Codewords for lifelong learning
Codeword puzzles are brainteasers that put puzzlers on a knowledge conveyor belt. Rather than having to think of a word and a meaning, the word appears in the puzzle in front of you. You might say, I have never heard that word. You go to the next step and look it up in the dictionary. When you find out what it means, you are 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 to build your general knowledge. A codeword can be designed for puzzlers with varying vocabularies. All we need to do is add more letters.