Puzzles for Prizes

Who loves puzzles? I do and so does my husband. If you haven’t yet noticed it, more and more women’s magazines are offering a substantial list of prizes every week puzzles and sending in the answers in a coupon. Life was a bit chaotic at my house last week while we were dealing with a death in the family, so I headed off to my local newsagent and grabbed a few magazines to take my mind off things for short bursts.

The cover of the issue of That’s Life offered $80,045 worth of prizes and Take 5 matched it with another $80,000. Both had a car as a main prize but also hundreds of smaller prizes from jewellery to kitchen aids, DVDs to scarves and a splattering of $50, $100 and even $2000 prizes in cash. New Idea had a smaller section of puzzles for prizes at the back. I scanned with interest a vast array of puzzles books offering prizes on the newsagent shelves as well. I grabbed one of these for my mum who is in a nursing home. I think it should keep her busy for a few weeks then plan to send the entry coupon in and see what happens.

As thrilling as the prospect of winning these prizes is at first, I am also aware that it is probably not worth getting too excited as the circulation of these popular magazines is very high – probably in the hundreds of thousands each week. Of course not every reader will send the coupons in but even if you get the puzzles right you are still competing with a lot of people and therefore there is still probably a rather large random draw involved. But sitting alongside the long list of winners in the magazines are photos of the smiling faces of some of the big winners so it is always worth being in the race. And doing the puzzles can be fun.

After searching around for a bit and keeping my eyes open I found a couple more less well known magazines with prizes for puzzles. A copy of Active Retirees that my husband brought back from his Probus meeting had a crossword competition with an Akubra hat as a prize (not very exciting but it could make a nice present for someone). I promptly sent that answer off in an email. Then while visiting my doctor I discovered a crossword competition in her monthly newsletter with a $50 voucher as a prize. So off that went too – quick smart. I can always do with a voucher or two.

My husband and I regularly vie with each other with puzzles. Usually this is with the crossword and Sudoku in our daily newspaper. He usually gets the crossword done first and I usually win the Sudoku challenge. Although most of the puzzles in the magazine competitions are fairly straightforward and not too challenging, there are a few that can stump both of us. So we searched on the internet and found a couple of websites to help. The one that my husband uses the most is www.the-crossword-solver.com. Of course a dictionary is the essential tool for doing crosswords. Because anagrams are not the easiest puzzles for me, the site that I use the most is www.anagram-solver.net  which I access on my phone (so I can just loll around in my pyjamas on the lounge in the morning while doing them).

These puzzle magazines do cost a few dollars each (and every week if you do intend to get serious – like me) but on the other hand if you don’t manage to win a prize at least doing the puzzles can keep your mind alive while having a little break from entering all the other competitions.

Could be worth a try – I’ll keep you posted!

After working for thirty years as a journalist/historian, Jenny started writing sci-fi for children and adults and occasionally illustrating them (when she was not spending time with her grandkids). Most have been published in The School Magazine, anthologies and online. She has also been contributing to a wide variety of magazines such as Antiques and Collectables for Pleasure and Profit, Australiana and Nurture. Now essentially retired Jenny has taken up a challenge of entering and (hopefully winning) competitions. Jenny will track her journey through this challenge here at www.competitions.com.au.

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  1. Trish Levido

    Loved your blog Jenny and thanks too for the url for the helpful sites. There is the added benefit, in addition to getting our brain cells working, that with a partner you are competing, which gives it an added ‘edge’. One of the benefits of being together and not single.
    I look forward to your further blogs. Thanks.
    Trish.

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