Thu, 19 Sep 2024

Puzzle Books Make Great Gifts for Family and Friends (or Yourself!)

 Crossword a Day 2024 Sudoku a Day 2024 Logic Puzzles for Adults Relaxing Dot to Dots

# Tips on Solving Word Ladder Puzzles

There are two distinct strategies that people tend to use. The first is to solve from top-to-bottom, whilst the other is to solve from bottom-to-top.

In truth, the best way to solve a wordladder is to try both approaches - some puzzles naturally seem to solve more easily from top to bottom and others vice-versa, for reasons that may not be immediately apparent.

Therefore if you get stuck trying to solve it one way, try to work from the other way up.

In fact, sometimes it is best to make inroads both way, and then try to get the two routes to meet in the middle.

Some of the trickiest puzzles to solve are actually those that have the most possible words one step away - where several letters can be swapped - as then there are more possibilities at each route of the ladder.

Some puzzles are naturally a lot harder than others too, in the sense that there can be many routes from top to bottom with some puzzles whilst literally only one (using commonish words anyway!) with others. However as mentioned above, sometimes ironically the less routes there are the easier the puzzle in that you may be forced down one particular solving route that actually works.

Remember that with word ladders you are always allowed one step where you don't get closer to the solution word, just as long as you don't get further away, because there is one more empty rung on the ladder than there are letters you need to change.

Thus if you need to change FOOD into GRUB then there are clearly a minimum of four steps needed, but you'll be provided with five steps on the ladder, so you can perform a shuffle whereby you get create a 'nicer' intermediary word that allows you to get closer to the solution.

Try to have a think about where the vowels are in the start word and the solution word, and if you can get the same arrangement of consonants and vowels at each position of the word as early as you can in the solving process: often this is the key step to solving success as shuffling the order of consonants and vowels is often quite a tricky step with it being hard to do that with many words.

Overall clearly a good vocabulary, experience of solving puzzles, working from top to bottom AND bottom to top, working out intermediary words and also considering vowel/consonant order are the key to solving word ladder puzzles. Good luck!

If you have any particular tips that you use to solve word ladders then please do add them in the comments below - we'd love to know how you go about tackling these fun puzzles.

Date written: 12 Jun 2012

Category: word puzzles | Keywords: wordladder

Nice tips
By: Ann - 15 Sep 2014 13:11:34

### Puzzle Videos: Learn to Solve

How to solve a Sandwich Sudoku
If you know the rules of sandwich sudoku but aren't sure how best to tackle a puzzle, this video walks through a puzzle and how to solve it to get you started. Highly recommended, as it's a really fun puzzle type to solve...

If you've never solved a sandwich sudoku, then a 6x6 puzzle is a good place to start. You can have a go at solving the puzzle featured in the video here: 6x6 Sandwich Sudoku Puzzle Online

Comment on this blog post

If you would like to comment on this post, please enter your comments below; all fields are mandatory. Posts are moderated before display.

Human testing question:
Is our favourite word: obscurity, clarity or semi-transparent?

Back to World of Puzzles
Puzzle Solutions
i Newspaper Solutions
Children's Puzzle Solutions

View a single page overview
List of puzzles

List of kids puzzles

View content such as dot to dots, adult colouring and more available to license for print right now

Word Puzzles
Children's Puzzles
Wordsearch
CodeWords
Arrow words
Kriss Kross
Word Wheel

Number & Colouring Puzzles
Children's Sudoku
Samurai Sudoku
Jigsaw Sudoku
Futoshiki
Mind Games
Killer Sudoku
Kakuro
Chess Puzzles
A - Z of Puzzles
Colour By Number
Dot To Dot

Puzzle Tools
Puzzle FAQ
Codeword Solver
Rhyming Dictionary
Puzzle Solving Tools
Solving Videos

Services
Puzzles for Apps
Article Writing
Themed Puzzle Pages