When creating a word search, it's incredible how big a difference it makes putting the big words in first.
With hindsight it's probably obvious, but the algorithm I'm using is so much faster when it gets a good start. And the best way to start is to get the tricky long words in place first before trying to fit in the easier small ones which can be arranged around the skeleton that is created by their longer friends.
That, combined with an efficient grid cloning strategy means puzzles can be created in record time.
[Image credit: Nicholas Gillard-Byers]