It’s Follow-Up Friday: International Puzzle Day edition!

Welcome to Follow-Up Friday!

By this time, you know the drill. Follow-Up Friday is a chance for us to revisit the subjects of previous posts and bring the PuzzleNation audience up to speed on all things puzzly.

And today, I’d like to return to the subject of puzzly holidays!

[Let’s celebrate with some crossword cake!]

Today is International Puzzle Day (or National Puzzle Day, depending on who you ask), and we here at PuzzleNation couldn’t resist getting involved in the puzzly celebrations!

In fact, we went all out this year, building a puzzle fort from various puzzle magazines! Check it out!

puzzle fort

And that’s just for starters. We’ve also assembled a new rundown of all the terrific puzzle apps and games PuzzleNation has to offer!

From the iOS and Android versions of the Penny Dell Crossword App (including new puzzle collections for both!) to our Classic Sudoku, Classic Word Search, and Bible Word Search apps, you can get all the details on our library of apps right here!

And to cap off the day’s festivities, we’ve collaborated with our pal Darcy over at Penny Dell Puzzles to concoct a little puzzly quiz for you!

Click here to find out What Kind of Puzzle Am I?, complete with links to share your results across social media!

So how are you celebrating International Puzzle Day? Are you kicking back with your favorite app or puzzle book? Meeting with friends to do a bit of tabletop gaming? Or maybe tackling an Escape the Room event and testing your puzzle mettle! Let us know in the comments!

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on everything PuzzleNation!

You can also share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and explore everything PuzzleNation on our website!

PuzzleNation Looks Back at 2015!

The year is quickly coming to a close, and as I look back on an eventful year in the world of puzzles and games, I’m immensely proud of the contributions both PuzzleNation Blog and PuzzleNation made to the puzzle community as a whole.

Over the last year, we explored dice games and tile games, apps and pen-and-paper puzzles. We met designers, constructors, and creative types of all kinds. We cracked brain teasers and tackled mind-bending riddles.

We explored the history of puzzles, broadened our understanding of how puzzles and games contribute to brain health, and celebrated the lives of puzzle greats Bernice Gordon, Henry Hook, Merl Reagle, and Leslie Billig, who were taken from us too soon.

We spread the word about numerous worthwhile Kickstarters and Indiegogo campaigns, watching with glee as a puzzle/game renaissance continued to amaze and surprise us with innovative new ways to play and puzzle.

We celebrated International TableTop Day, the debut of The Indie 500 crossword tournament, a new Star Wars movie, the 80th anniversary of Monopoly, new world records set by Rubik’s Cube solvers, and a puzzly wedding proposal, and we were happy to share so many remarkable puzzly landmark moments with you. Heck, we even solved the mystery of The Dress!

It’s been both a pleasure and a privilege to explore the world of puzzles and games with you, my fellow puzzle lovers and PuzzleNationers. I recently posted my 450th blog post, and I’m even more excited to write for you now than I was when I started.

And that’s just the blog. PuzzleNation’s good fortune and accomplishments in 2015 went well beyond that.

In January, we launched the Penny Dell Bible Word Search for iPad, and in March we started our monthly hashtag games. In May, we added Penny Dell Jumbo Crosswords 2 for iOS devices, and July saw the debut of our Crossword Clue Challenge every weekday on Twitter and Facebook.

But the standout showpiece of our puzzle app library has been the Penny Dell Crossword App. With our Dell Collection puzzle sets, our monthly Deluxe puzzle sets, and the 2015 Deluxe Combo (not to mention our various value packs and supreme bundles), we maintained a steady stream of quality puzzle content for solvers and PuzzleNationers.

We added a free daily puzzle feature for all users, and just before Christmas, we launched the Penny Dell Crossword App for Android devices, ensuring that more puzzle lovers than ever have access to the best mobile crossword app on the market today.

[Fred, our Director of Digital Games, shows off the Penny Dell Crossword App
at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in March.]

And your response has been terrific! We amassed over 1500 followers for the blog and we’re closing in on 1700 followers of the PuzzleNation Facebook page, numbers that are both humbling and very encouraging.

2015 was our most productive, most exciting, and most creatively fulfilling year to date, and 2016 promises to be even brighter.

Thank you for your enthusiasm, your support, and your feedback, PuzzleNationers. Have a fantastic New Year. We’ll see you in 2016!

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on everything PuzzleNation!

You can also share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and explore the always-expanding library of PuzzleNation apps and games on our website!

Word Search Dos and Don’ts!

Today, in the interest of both public service and better puzzling overall, I thought I’d present a brief list of dos and do-not-dos when it comes to constructing word search (or word seek) puzzles.

Now, full disclosure, I will be talking about PuzzleNation apps a bit here, but only because they’re great examples of well-crafted puzzles, and a little shameless self-promotion never hurt anybody. *smiles*

So, without further ado, let’s talk word searches!


Offer fun bonuses, like trivia, facts, and bonus entries to hunt down!

These additions can make for a richer, more fulfilling solving experience.


Do NOT create a holiday word search without being very careful to edit out any questionable or inappropriate vocabulary.

For instance, these words do not belong in a kids’ Christmas word search.


Make sure your puzzle has audience-appropriate vocabulary and a family-friendly theme.

For instance, the Penny Dell Bible Word Search app features entire passages from the Bible, broken up into searchable words and phrases.


Do NOT make a 50 Shades of Grey-themed word search and distribute it to middle school students!

Yes, this actually happened.


Freshen up the word search formula with interesting and challenging variations.

[An Around the Bend word seek from Penny Press.]

Our friends at Penny/Dell Puzzles have some really clever variant word searches, like Missing Vowels, Missing List, Zigzag, and plenty of others. Whether you’re discovering bonus messages, finding craftily hidden words, or dodging red herrings planted by clever constructors, you’ll find plenty to keep you interested.


Do NOT get a word search grid full of swearing and foul language tattooed on your lower back.

No, I’m not including a link or a picture on this one. Trust me, it exists, and it definitely belongs on the Do-not-do list.

Well, there you have it! Some important dos and do-not-dos of word searches and word seeks. With these few simple rules (and cautionary tales), you can craft high-quality, fun, worthwhile puzzles for friends, family, students, and more.

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! You can share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and be sure to check out the growing library of PuzzleNation apps and games!