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The Puzzle Maker

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the puzzle makerFor the puzzle maker, you read about a man called Will Shortz. It provides practice for Part 4 of the reading section of the Cambridge English B1 Preliminary exam.

About 5-10 minutes.Reading Skills.Expanding stage.
Enhanced Accessibility.
Five sentences have been removed from the text below. For each question, choose the correct answer from the choices in the puzzle maker text. There are three extra sentences that you do not need to use.

When you ask a child what they would like to be when they grow up, it might usually be a firefighter, pilot, doctor, or athlete. However, for Will Shortz, it was different. In the eighth grade, he wrote about becoming a puzzle maker. (1)

In college, Will found that there was no way to study puzzles or become a puzzle maker. (2) 

Fortunately, after becoming bored with his studies, Will learned that his university had special programmes. (3)

Will and his professors then created new classes that explored all aspects of puzzle-making. Will soon realized that he probably was the only student at his university to know more about his puzzles than any of his professors!

After graduating, Will got a job for Games magazine. (4) He could create new kinds of puzzles and work with great puzzle makers.

After fifteen years at Games, Will accepted a position as the editor of The New York Times' crossword puzzle.  When he first joined, the newspaper's crossword puzzle was difficult.  (5)  Will made fundamental changes, such as including everyday language in the clues and answers so that many more people could enjoy it.


Here are new words and phrases from this exercise for the B1 Preliminary Part 4 reading section of the test:

  • athlete
  • crossword
  • everyday language
  • firefighter
  • magazine
  • professors
  • puzzle maker
  • special programme
  • university
We add reading and writing exercises on a regular basis. Why not bookmark our site, so you can come back to practice anywhere or at any time of the day?

Part 1 - Read five real-world notices, messages and other short texts for the main message.

Part 2 - Match five descriptions of people to eight short texts on a particular topic, showing detailed comprehension.

Part 3 - Read a longer text for detailed comprehension, gist, inference and global meaning, as well as writer’s attitude and opinion.

Part 4 - Read a longer text from which five sentences have been removed. Show understanding of how a coherent and well-structured text is formed.

Write about 100 words, answering the email and notes provided.

In addition, we add listening and speaking exercises in order to practise for this part of the B1 Preliminary Test.

Part 3 - Gap-Filled Exercise

The B1 Preliminary Speaking test has four parts and you take it together with another candidate. There are two examiners. One of the examiners talks to you and the other examiner listens.

The more words you encounter and understand, the broader your day-to-day vocabulary will become. Our word games and puzzles are an excellent way to help to reinforce spellings in your mind.
Especially helpful are exercises that are focussed on a theme or topic as these provide word retention practice so you can be confident to read, write, speak and listen successfully.

Cambridge English Examinations:

Cambridge English exams are designed for learners at all levels from the pre-intermediate level Cambridge English: Key (KET) to the very advanced level Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE). These exams give candidates proof of their ability to use English in a wide variety of contexts, relevant to work, study and leisure activities.

A2 Key | B1 Preliminary | B2 First

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