Nowadays, I almost never read the newspaper. But I remember poring over the daily crossword puzzles when I was younger. I love how they mix trivia knowledge and hint-based puzzle solving.
Over the past few days, I’ve been enjoying a crossword puzzle game called Bonza Word Puzzle. It is unique in that it shows you a hint and a bunch of letter boxes that you rearrange to construct a valid crossword puzzle.
Read the Clue, and Guess the Words
In Bonza, the clue represents a shared characteristic of the words. “Fruit salad” lets you construct a crossword that comprises banana, orange, and apple. Meanwhile, “flowers” involves answers such as daffodil, daisy, and tulip.
Not all the clues can be read literally. For example, “can be broken” can be heart, promise, and rule. “Eye of the...” may include answers such as needle, storm, and tiger.
To keep things challenging, the game provides a mystery clue for every five puzzles. You will see something like “N---” for a four-letter word that starts with the letter N. This significantly increases the difficulty level of the puzzle. Not only would you need to guess the words, but you also need to figure out the mystery clue.
In Bonza, you can’t move forward unless you solve the current puzzle. If you’re stuck, you can either get one answer by buying a hint or by asking friends for help on Facebook or Twitter. In fact, that was how I got into the game: after answering three requests from my friends, I decided to try the game myself.
First-time players will start with the Starter Pack which consists of 10 puzzles. Each puzzle can include up to five words. Every time you solve a crossword puzzle, you will earn five coins. You can spend the coins on hints or unlocking a month worth of daily puzzles.
More Puzzle Packs
In addition to the Starter Pack, Bonza includes two Puzzle Pack for free. You can purchase more packs via in-app purchases. Some puzzles are designed by the community of Bonza players, and you can design your own puzzles. If you’re lucky, it may be included in the next Daily Puzzle update.
Bonza also includes special packs designed by puzzle celebrities such as Patrick Blindauer, whose work has appeared in New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. You will also find packs designed by David Millar, who has designed puzzles for the Indian Puzzle Championship and UK Open Puzzle Championship, as well as packs from Grant Fikes and John Walker. All these celebrity packs can be unlocked via in-app purchases.
To keep you challenged on a daily basis, Bonza releases one puzzle daily for free. Some of them are based on current events; for example, today’s puzzle is about the Islamic holidays Ramadan and Ied. If you missed the previous daily puzzles, you can unlock them as a monthly pack for 220 coins each.
Here are a few playing tips that might help new players get into the game:
- Start with the longest vertical or horizontal pieces first. It’s easier to guess what words they would form.
- Guess as many times as you’d like because there is no penalty if you get something wrong.
- All the vertical and horizontal words in the puzzles are valid, so you can work your way from the unfinished words hanging around after completing one or two words. But, it’s also okay if you find yourself combining letter boxes into two or more groups before you know how to combine them into the final puzzle.
- If you’re stuck, try putting the keywords alongside the words that you have correctly guessed into a Google search to see what other keywords that might pop up. For example, putting in “denim”, “straight”, and “baggy” for the “jeans” puzzle into a Google search, I found out about “skinny”.
- Use the Ask a Friend feature extensively. It’s a much cheaper way to get hints instead of paying 50 coins. This might intrigue some of your friends to play the game as well. And, Bonza is a game where the more the players, the merrier.
Spoiler: Mystery Clues
If you’ve been playing for a while, you may find yourself stuck in puzzles with mystery clues. You can refer to this section to learn what they are; knowing them can help you tremendously. These are the mystery clues for the first 101 puzzles available within the Starter Pack, Puzzle Pack 1, Puzzle Pack 2, and January Daily Puzzle Pack.
- Starter (10): Nuts
- Pack 1 (5): Fingers
- Pack 1 (10): Chess
- Pack 1 (15): Red
- Pack 1 (20): Big
- Pack 1 (25): Family
- Pack 1 (30): Seven Dwarfs
- Pack 2 (5): Delicious
- Pack 2 (10): Pasta
- Pack 2 (15): Steal
- Pack 2 (20): River
- Pack 2 (25): Frightened
- Pack 2 (30): Ridiculous
- Jan 5, 2014: Photography
- Jan 10, 2014: Cheese
- Jan 15, 2014: Hairstyle
- Jan 19, 2014: Hungry
Bonza Word Puzzle is a fun crossword puzzle with a jigsaw twist. As someone whose mother tongue is not English, it’s much easier than the classic crossword puzzles. It’s also approachable by younger kids who may be more familiar with jigsaw puzzle than crossword puzzles.
App was purchased by us.