Get some fun early training for the New York Times crossword puzzles with Dice-T by Haywire Group! Draw your crossword template cards, roll your letter dice and race to fill the empty squares to complete crossing 3-5 letter words. Some of the spaces are “wild” while others are already printed with a letter. I was amazed at how much fun this game is across the ages–my 9 year-old tester handily beat me in the first round, as his mother ( a self-professed word game geek) was drawn to the laughs and peeked over our shoulders to see what was up. Completed cards have various point values depending on the difficulty, but scores can change unexpectedly when cards are drawn to add or subtract points, re-roll a letter, or swap a card with an opponent, leveling the playing field for all ages. Beginning word games are wonderful for building language and vocabulary as we had a few laughs about whether our attempt was actually a word, and needed a dictionary to verify. Spelling, sounding out words and recognizing word patterns are all essential skills for reading that can be reinforced with this fun family game.