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CodeWords Strategy Tips

The first and most important thing to do with a codewords puzzle is to go through and write in the letters you are given in the appropriate places on the puzzle.

Thus if you are told that 22 is 'T', go through and mark all 22's as 'T': this is done for you if you use our online codewords player tool.

Now, once all letters are written in, you are normally given two or three letters for at least one word on the grid. This is where you should focus as you should normally be able to work out what the word is, or at least narrow down to a couple of candidates.

If you can think of only one word that fits, then write it in and then write in the new letters you have deduced throughout the puzzle, and so on until you reach the solution.

Often you can make an educated guess at which letters go where based on their frequency and where they occur in words. Indeed the first move that many people make is to see which number occurs most on the grid. This is almost always an 'E' and many people write it in straight away.

If you have the option of a couple of words for your first move then see if they would for instance place an obscure letter like 'X' in a cell containing a number that is repeated often in the puzzle: if so, that possibility is almost certainly wrong.

At the start of the puzzle it is important to think like this: what would be the impact on the rest of the puzzle if I place in the word I am thinking of? If it seems to make the puzzle impossible or at least improbable by placing awkward letters throughout the rest of the puzzle then you probably have the wrong word.

There are many other tips you can use when solving code words and a lot of the fun is working these out for yourself.

However particular patterns to think about include the following:

Many words end in 'ing'. Thus if you have an 'i' followed by two unknown letters at the end of the word, consider these may well be the 'n' and 'g'. To find out if that's so, simply see what the impact on the rest of the puzzle would be if they were the 'n' and the 'g': would it seem to make sense?

Similary the 's' is often at the end of words as there will be some plurals or words ending in 's' in the puzzle. Thus if you see the same letter at the end of words quite often this is a likely candidate for the 's', as long as you have already placed the 'e', which tends to be the most popular letter in codewords puzzles.

Once you have found the 'u', the 'q' is almost certainly nearby - therefore always be alert for whether the letter proceeding an 'u' is the 'q' or not. And, almost for sure, when you know where the 'q' is you know where the 'u' is, with the exception of some more obscure scrabble words such as 'qat' in some of the puzzles!

Finally, think of some other patterns. When you have the same letter twice in a row in a word, this is virtually always a double 'e' or 'o' if you have vowels to place. If you have consonants to place, there are more options, and often you will find it is a double 'd', 'p', 's' or 't' though consider other options such as 'f', 'g', 'm' and 'n' too.

Above all have fun and look for your own patterns as you start solving codewords, and you will soon be a maestro at solving the puzzle!