Word searches typically have words hidden vertically, horizontally, and diagonally. Harder puzzles can also have words in reverse order, making even short words very difficult to find. One of the simplest tools you can use to complete a word puzzle is a ruler _ block out the horizontal lines one by one and read across until you recognize a collection of letters that form one of the phrases you're searching for. Next, move the ruler vertically line by line. Finally, do the same for diagonal lines. This simple first pass at the puzzle should allow you to discover a large number of words.
Word List Twists _ Choose an interesting theme, make a word list, and then use only half the words in the puzzle. I once made a puzzle about roses for a newspaper. I called it "A Thorny Puzzle." I included a list of 22 words related to roses and then asked the solvers which 11 of these words were actually in the puzzle. Or, write a listless word search. For Grandpa's vegetable puzzle, for example, you could hide the names of ten vegetables and not tell him which ones they are.