Games, Puzzles, and Comps

Enter competitions, play words games, and do puzzles.




Congratulations to Lee Jackson from New Zealand for winning our inaugural competition! We had some fantastic entries using "sheer" and "shear" in a sentence but Lee's entry was the standout:

  • "Sitting on her heavy buttocks, short legs thrust forward, Barbara relaxes and closes her eyes in anticipation as the stylist begins to shear her thick, white curly locks."
  • "The last of her beautiful curls falls to the floor and Barbara opens her eyes to stare through the planked door, amazed at the sheer volume of fellow sheep, who, like her, have longed for this haircut all summer."

Lee has won a copy of the popular vocabulary-improvement software Ultimate Vocabulary. Well done Lee! We will email you soon.

Honourable mentions also go to:

Wendy Arman: "Superb shearer, Shaun, had shorn all of the flock bar one surely unsheepish looking sheep. With a surly, curly lip, and squinty, glinty eye, the sheep swiftly dodged Shaun's snatching grasp and leaped out of the chute to freedom, baaaaing gleefully with sheer and unshorn joy."

Diana Donato (Australia) (Troy's personal favourite): "As I watched the sweating man with his bulging, rippling muscles shear the sheep, I was filled with sheer elation that soon it would be over and I would be happily in his arms rather than the terrified beasties."

Jennifer Schofield (UK): "That dress is very sheer, I better go and shear some sheep to cover you up and preserve your modesty!"

Susan Willshee (UK): "Sexy Susie loved wearing sheer stockings. Although they would have looked much better if she had sheared her legs first!" and "Bringing bald sheep to the shearing contest was just sheer nonsense."

Diana Ozelis (Australia): "The sheer quality of the fleece was indeed indulgent, only fully realised once it had been removed from the mammoths body by shear, an enormous task undertaken so skilfully by the dwarf."

Inderjeet Deusi (Kenya): "It was sheer genius when Mary used her Epilady to shear a sheep in under 2 minutes. The professional shearers were red faced."

Don't worry if you missed out this time. A new competition is coming soon!

Closed competitions

Win a copy of the popular vocabulary-building software Ultimate Vocabulary!*

For your chance to win this popular software, simply:

  • write two sentences that illustrate the difference between SHEAR and SHEER. Your sentences should use these two words in context, in a way that shows what they mean. We will be scoring entries on accuracy, humour, and inventiveness. Email your entry to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , including your full name and country of origin.
  • Here's an example of the sort of thing we're after:
    Ericka loved to shear lambs. Shearing filled her with sheer joy.
    But you can write something much cleverer and funnier than this, we're sure!
  • Both words (SHEAR and SHEER) have several meanings, you can choose whichever definitions you'd like to illustrate.

Entries close 11.59pm, 31 May 2011. By entering, you agree to the competition's Official Rules. Good luck!

*Denise and I recommend only products that we have tried and tested. These include Ultimate Vocabulary. We have agreed to receive a commission from some sales of Ultimate Vocabulary because we are happy to endorse that software.


These puzzles are all themed around English language subjects – grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and so on. When you click on these links, the puzzle PDFs will download to your computer, and you can print them out.

Not sure whether you should be wasting your time solving word puzzles? Read our article on The Benefits of Puzzles first!

You have our permission to use these puzzles for non-commerical uses in the classroom, in a school publication, or at home, just so long as our copyright and web address are retained.

Word Searches

Word Search 1 — English Grammar (PDF)

Word Search 2 — Extra Hard Spelling Words 1 (PDF)

Word Search 3 — Double Letters (PDF)

Word Search 4 — Extra Hard Spelling Words 2 (PDF)


Crossword 1 — Mostly Grammar (PDF)

Crossword 1 — Mostly Grammar (online version)

Crossword 2 — Treacherous Spelling Words (PDF)

Crossword 2 — Treacherous Spelling Words (online version)

This collection will keep on growing, so come back and see what new puzzles are on offer!

You can find the answers here.

NB: If you're using Internet Explorer to access the online crosswords, you may run into trouble getting the Java applet to work. If this happens, try using a different browser such as Firefox or Safari instead.


Solving Cryptograms: Letter Frequency Analysis

Solving Cryptograms:  Step-by-Step

Cryptograms 1: Comedy (PDF)

Cryptograms 2: Science Fiction (PDF)

Cryptograms 3: Mark Twain (PDF)


The Dictionary Game (vocabulary)

Word Match


Last modified on Sunday, 29 November 2015 08:45
English Language Skills (Troy)

English Language Skills (Troy)

I have a law degree, I've run an award-winning business, and I am a published author.

My most popular book is Funny English Errors and Insights: Illustrated.

My new book is The Funny Dictionary.

I have a particular interest in vocabulary improvement and speed reading.

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