Years ago I used to do the word puzzles in magazines like That's Life, etc. My favourite puzzle used to be called a Wordsmith. It provided 9 letters, out of which you made words of 4 or more letters without repeating any and using the centre highlighted letter in every word. There was also a 9-letter word you had to make out of all the letters.

What are these puzzles called now? I really would love to find puzzle books that include them.

  • $\begingroup$ The New York Times has a similar puzzle with 7 rather than 9 letters, arranged in a hexagon-made-of-hexagons, which they call "Spelling Bee". $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented Jun 22 at 15:09

1 Answer 1


This type of puzzle is commonly called a 'Word Wheel' in many publications. Here is an example using 10 letters (rather than 9) in the July 2024 Puzzle Selection magazine (UK):

Word Wheel example

Here the central letter is 'I' and the surrounding ones T, A, I, M, O, N, I, T and G. The instructions at the top read: See how many words of four or more letters you can make from the letters given in the wheel. Each word must include the central letter and other letters should only be used once. See if you can find the ten-letter anagram.

You can also find playable online versions of this puzzle. At lovattspuzzles.com they are called 'Wheel Words' (playable here), although most other sites appear to use the same 'Word Wheel' title as the folks at Puzzle Selection.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you very kindly! I now know what to search for.🙂 $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 22 at 13:20
  • $\begingroup$ @ChristineIvins No worries, happy to help :) If this answered your question sufficiently you can select the checkmark icon to the left to show other users that this answer did the job. Happy hunting! $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Commented Jun 22 at 17:16

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