If you’re anything like us, you can’t get enough of armchair puzzles, whether they be crosswords, solitaire, or the ultra-challenging Sudoku. While we could pretty much go for those games at any given time, once in a while, we like to take it back to basics and try our hand at a good old word search.

Now, if you too are an armchair puzzle solver, then you surely know that word searches are NOT all created equal. In fact, though they may look innocuous enough, these little mind-benders can REALLY be difficult to complete. Just fix your eyes on this bad boy:

This particular puzzle calls for the user to find only one, very simple three-letter word: DOG. Yep, it’s one that most kids can spell upon graduating from kindergarten, but in the context of this word search, it’s almost impossible to find. Don’t believe us? Try to locate the short word yourself.

We’re waiting…

We told you this one is a beast! What makes this particular word search so difficult is the fact that it only contains three letters: “D”, “O”, and “G”. This feature makes it so the person attempting to complete the puzzle doesn’t have any solid jumping off point to speak of.

According to Dummies, the legendary learning site, there a few ways to successfully get started on a word search—circling matching letters, searching for less common words, and identifying circular words—but unfortunately, these techniques can’t be applied to this one. Further proof that this puzzle was created by a very smart – albeit very evil – person!

Why word searches are great for the brain

While you may feel like the above puzzle gave you the beginning stages of a migraine, as it turns out, word searches might actually be quite good for your noggin!

In her blog, The Gifted Guru, educator Lisa Van Gemert gives us some insight as to why word searches should be used in the classroom. She explains that these classic puzzles are particularly helpful in educational settings because they serve as multifaceted language lessons, all rolled into one fun activity.

Van Gemert points out that, when a person—either a child or an adult—sits down to complete a puzzle, he or she is made to focus on areas such as word recognition, context clues, pattern recognition, vocabulary building, and, of course, spelling.

Talk about killing five birds with one stone! Now you can rest assured that your kiddo’s word search homework isn’t just inane “busy work”.

Because we aren’t a merciless monster that wants you to be driven crazy by the puzzle, we’ve decided to include the answer to this mind-bending word search. Here ya go; you can thank us later!

Shocking, right?

We can’t wait to hear what you have to say about this incredibly difficult word search! Were you able to find the “DOG” right away? If so, did you locate it using a special word search strategy? Do you believe that these mental puzzles can help develop language skills?