PuzzleNation Community Contest/Giveaway Extended!

Hello puzzle fans, puzzle fiends, and PuzzleNationers! Happy Friday!Just a quick note to let you know we’re extending our PuzzleNation Community Contest to give more people a chance to win one of our fabulous Classic Word Search iBooks! (Or another terrific prize if you’re not an iPad user!)

So make sure to like or comment a PuzzleNation post on Facebook, follow or comment @PuzzleNation on Twitter, or follow or comment on the PuzzleNation Blog to put your name in the running for our iBook giveaway!

(And if you refer friends to PuzzleNation, you’re eligible for a special drawing to win all three Classic Word Search iBooks!)

Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and support! As a proud member of the greater puzzle community, we at PuzzleNation most definitely appreciate it!

Thanks for visiting the PuzzleNation blog today! You can like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, check out our Classic Word Search iBook (three volumes to choose from!), play our games at PuzzleNation.com, or contact us here at the blog!

Happy Birthday, PuzzleNation Blog!

That’s right, my fellow puzzle fiends and PuzzleNationers! One year ago today, the very first PuzzleNation Blog post went live on WordPress, and we’re overjoyed to embark on a new year of sharing puzzly goodness of all sorts with you!

After 365 days, 170 posts, and hours and hours of discussing the best and brightest, the weirdest and most wonderful, the most fascinating aspects of the worldwide puzzle community, we’re still going strong and busier than ever!

With the recent launch of our Classic Word Search iBooks (Volumes one, two and three!), as well as our interview feature 5 Questions (new one coming Thursday! Check out the first two installments here and here!), we’ve been looking forward quite a bit lately.

So we thought we’d take this opportunity to look back and chronicle some of the awesome achievements that our homebase, PuzzleNation.com, has accomplished since its launch.

It started with seven games — Tanglewords, Classic Crossword, StarSpell, Classic Sudoku, Crossword Raiders, Classic Word Search, and Guessworks — later adding Diggin’ Words, Classic Fill-In, and Invisible Word Search to the roster of playable puzzle games.

(Stormy, Barkley, Copernicus, Sam, Veronica, Lorenzo, and Kana, the Diggin’ Words dogs, wish the PuzzleNation Blog a happy one-year anniversary!)

Looking back, it’s kind of amazing when you consider how many puzzles have been solved since the launch of PuzzleNation.com.

The top 3 PuzzleNation puzzle games solved the most times since launch are (#3) Invisible Word Search, (#2) Diggin’ Words, and (#1) Classic Word Search (with nearly twice as many solves as Diggin’ Words).

Those same 3 puzzle games were the top 3 puzzles solved in the last 2 months.

The top 3 puzzle games in the first 2 months of PN’s existence were Classic Word Search, Guessworks and Crossword Raiders.

(Classic Word Search… clearly a favorite among puzzlers, since it was the most popular puzzle both then AND now!)

(Also, ignore the little blue triangle at the top of the pyramid. That’s just a festive party hat.)

 Classic Word Search also had the biggest increase in solves since launch. Not double, not triple, but SIX TIMES as many Classic Word Search puzzles were solved in the last two months as there were in the first two months!

Another notable improver was Tanglewords, which doubled from about 1,000 solves in the first two months to about 2,300 in the last 2 months.

But each of those games means puzzle points collected by PuzzleNation users…

Which does make you wonder…

How many points have puzzlers collected since PuzzleNation.com launched?

As it turns out, a staggering amount:

Look at some of those totals! Over 31 million PuzzlePoints for Classic Sudoku! Over 63 million PuzzlePoints for Guessworks! And a mindboggling 770 million PuzzlePoints in Diggin’ Words! (No wonder those dogs always look so thirsty!)

As you can see, even the smallest sliver of the pie represents thousands and thousands of solves by PuzzleNation players!

All this adds up to over half a MILLION puzzles solved since launch!

And the PuzzleNation Blog is proud to be the voice of PuzzleNation and the place where you can find all things puzzly (and PuzzleNation-y) on the web!

Thank you for a terrific year, and here’s to many more good things to come! (Including a big announcement later this week, so stay tuned!)

Thanks for visiting the PuzzleNation blog today! You can like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, check out our Classic Word Search iBook (three volumes to choose from!), play our games at PuzzleNation.com, or contact us here at the blog!

The value of puzzles in school…

A friend of the blog passed along an intriguing link the other day. A post on ReadingRockets.org raised a serious question about the legitimacy of using certain puzzles as teaching tools.

From the article: “We were recently told by an administrator that research shows that crossword puzzles and word search puzzles have no educational value.”

No educational value? Are they kidding?

Now, I admit that the concern for puzzles to be used as time-fillers instead of teaching tools is a fair one. But to dismiss them entirely is a bit premature, especially when you’re considering the potential for elementary school-age students.

Obviously, both crosswords and word searches have vocabulary-building aspects, but that ignores the true potential each puzzle adds to an educational environment.

Let’s start with word searches.

Properly employed, word searches can be marvelous tools for pattern recognition and efficient problem solving.

For instance, imagine giving a class a particular word to find amidst a field of options. Instead of “passively locating words”, as one commenter noted, they’re left to devise their own method for quickly and efficiently locating a word with eight possible orientations.

Do they scan top to bottom, or left to right for the first letter, or an uncommon letter? Do they rely on certain vowel or consonant combinations that might jump out at them? How a student solves a given puzzle can give insight into how they tackle other challenges.

Beyond this, I think they’re ignoring a simple fact regarding word search solving: the further you get into the solve, the harder the grid is to read.

Seriously. If you’re halfway through a word list, your grid is full of lines and circles distracting you from the other words in the grid. Those pattern recognition skills I mentioned earlier become even more important.

(These may seem like rudimentary solving skills, but they’re excellent launchpads for further educational lessons down the road.)

And what do crosswords bring to the table? Plenty.

Crosswords foster both a familiarity with wordplay and deductive reasoning. Solvers unravel puns and riddles, encounter synonyms and antonyms, as well as puzzling out answers from letters provided by crossing entries.

People who write off crosswords as too trivia-heavy are ignoring a field of puzzles that not only challenge cultural and historical knowledge, but pop culture, sports, and language.

Plus, can anyone deny the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a crossword?

Anything can be a time filler when improperly employed. But puzzles are not only non-intrusive ways of introducing new words to a student, they’re exercises in efficiency and problem solving.

Thanks for visiting the PuzzleNation blog today! You can like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, check out our Classic Word Search iBook (three volumes to choose from!), play our games at PuzzleNation.com, or contact us here at the blog!

More Classic Word Search iBook news!

Hello puzzle fiends and PuzzleNationers!

A few weeks ago, we launched our first puzzle book for iPad — Classic Word Search Volume 1 — and we promised more to come! Today, we are happy to deliver on that promise with the announcement of Volume 2 and Volume 3 of Classic Word Search, now available for download in the iBookstore!

Each volume has 65 puzzles to delight and engage you, and each puzzle has a unifying theme tying the word list together. Whether you’re hunting words related to Hitchcock films or Ice Cream Sundaes, these puzzles are guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.

These volumes are a terrific bargain for fans of puzzles and puzzle games alike!

You can highlight words in each grid with the mere swipe of a finger, and with our dynamic left/right toggle button, left-handed and right-handed people can adjust the game to suit their needs!

PuzzleNation is overjoyed to expand our library of Classic Word Search puzzles, and we’d like to thank you for supporting us in all our puzzle game endeavors.

And be sure to stay tuned! Or you’ll never know what we’ve got up our sleeves for next time.

Thanks for visiting the PuzzleNation blog today! You can like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, play our games at PuzzleNation.com, or contact us here at the blog!

Big announcement time!

Greetings, PuzzleNationers and puzzle enthusiasts!

We’ve been teasing this announcement for a while now, and we’re proud to say you’ll be among the first to hear the good news…

PuzzleNation is expanding to include iPad users! The first PuzzleNation iBook is now in the iBookstore — based on the Classic Word Search game you know and love — and we’re very excited to welcome iPad users into our puzzle-loving community.

Click here to check it out: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/puzzlenation-classic-word/id670993791?mt=11

(Please note, the iBook is only for iPad. It does not work on iPhone, iPod touch or Android devices.)

As puzzle fans ourselves, we’re overjoyed to be joining the mobile market this way and contributing to the puzzle community in general. It’s an exciting time here at PuzzleNation, and there’s so much more to come!

For the latest updates on PuzzleNation news, you can like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. And for news from all corners of the puzzle community, keep visiting our blog!