Great Word Puzzles for Tiger Moms and Their Cubs: Verbal Extraction Puzzle and Solution #3 & #4
Verbal Extractions word puzzles are made up of grids filled with letters, three letters per box. The most popular form is a 6x6 grid, but it would be possible to make a Verbal Extraction puzzle of practically any size, as long as it is square. It could be a 5x5 grid, 4x4, or 7x7, etc. Along with the grid, the puzzle supplies a list of clues to help discover the hidden words.
From the three letters in each square, the solver must choose one letter so that reading horizontally across the row they find one word; they must also select a letter from each box in a vertical column to find one word reading from top to bottom - one for each column; one letter will be left unused in each box in the grid. The letters selected must be used in order as they appear in the rows or columns; their sequence is not scrambled.
The list of clues is divided into words that read across or down, but they are not listed in the same order as the answers within the grid. The solver has to figure out the five-or-six-letter words (depending on the size of the grid) that read down and those that read across. After the letters from those words have been eliminated by crossing them out, you will be able to read a quotation made up of the letters left over. It will read across left to right, and top to bottom.
One fun tip that may help with solving the puzzle is to look for unique - or, rather, uncommon - letters in the grid, such as Q, J, Z, V, etc. If they belong to any of the answers you have found, you will know where to look for the complete word - either in the horizontal row or the vertical column that contains the letter.
You may also notice that sometimes there will be a specific theme or subject within one Verbal Extraction puzzle. When that is true, you will be able to figure out the answers to some clues more easily.
Other solving tips may be found in related articles, but among the best to repeat is the idea of brainstorming several words that could answer each clue, before looking for words in the grid. On the other hand, it can also be helpful to look through the grid first to see what words may be hidden there. Pay attention to the alternation between vowels and consonants; watch for consonant blends (ch, tr, bl, etc.) and clusters to see whether you can uncover a word before you even read the clues!
So, how can solving a Verbal Extractions puzzle be helpful to a Tiger Mom's little cubs? For one thing, it can be an exercise in language and logic; for another, it can help to expand a child's vocabulary; and it can show some subtleties of word meanings, as in the second puzzle where the clues were created in such a way as to hide the obvious relationship between all of the answers.
And, since little ones will probably need some help from Mom, solving this kind of puzzle can provide an opportunity for meaningful together time, perhaps cuddling together on a couch, thereby making the process of tackling a challenge even more rewarding and fun.
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