Being a relatively simple concept at its core, one might think that word search has been around in some form for many years. However, that’s not really the case, as word searches are less than 50 years old and came about long after the creation of several other popular word-related games, such as crosswords and scrabble.
The man credited with creating the first word search is Norman Gibat, who published them in a small local newspaper in Normal, Oklahoma, dedicated to classified listings called Selenby Digest. Word searching became instantly all the rage and soon local teachers requested additional copies as activities for their students. Before long they were being sent to other teachers outside of their district, and the word searches were finally syndicated and appeared in newspapers around the world.
Online word searches are now abundant and can be approached in different formats, from the smallest typical boards of newspapers or children’s publications, to the most gigantic ones, which house dozens of words hidden between hundreds of letters. Some puzzles can only place words in forward positions, some only vertically and horizontally, while others also place words backwards and diagonally. In some puzzles, the words do not overlap each other, which means that each letter we use for only one word or none, while others overlap.
Many different puzzle-based websites also have word search maker tools, which allow people to design their own puzzles. They can determine which words to search for, whether the words can overlap each other on the board, how large the board is, and other aspects of puzzle layout and design.
Over the years, several variations of traditional puzzles have appeared. A popular variation has a hidden clue or series of words left from the letters that were not used in the puzzle. These letters may appear in order from top to bottom, left to right, or they may have to be decoded with the use of a trivia question or clue.
Another variation changes the way you search for words. Instead of lining up the words in a straight line, the letters of the word can stick out of each other in any of 8 directions. This makes clues much more difficult to spot when searching for whole words, and requires a more methodical approach. Some players prefer this format, while others enjoy the whole word search process, with or without knowledge of which words to search for.
Word searches have always been engaging for children, and children’s word searches do a great job of engaging their minds, teaching them new words, and in the case of word puzzles, showing them how different concepts and things are doing. interconnected. However, whether you’re young or old, searching for word clues is an enjoyable, stress-free way to pass the time.