- 2014 Fall: Ashland; 2013 Spring: Ashland; 2012 Spring: Ashland; 2011 Spring: Ashland, Medford
- Sessions: 6
- Course URL: http://communicrossings.com/olli-course-crosswords-and-you
- Would you like to become better at completing, enjoying and understanding crosswords (and impress your friends)?
- Do you find life puzzling (common in crossword-themed songs)?
- We will explore crossword history and culture, solving strategies, clues, themes, and tools.
- We will solve and discuss puzzles as a group during part of each session to improve our skills.
- We will learn about different types of crosswords, online sources and applications, and cruciverbalism (creating crosswords).
- For the final session, we'll watch the movie documentary WordPlay.
- Below: more about Instructor, Topics and Resources.
About the Instructor
- Steve Weyer has taught Be Safer on the Internet, Crosswords (Intro and Practicum), E-books, and Internet History and Issues at OLLI since 2010. Steve has 45+ years experience with computer software, including research and development on programming languages, learning environments, electronic books, and artificial intelligence at Stanford, Xerox PARC, Atari, HP Labs and Apple. He has developed and distributed a web browser ("Newt’s Cape"), a crossword application ("CrozzWord") and other applications for early mobile devices and smartphones. He has also created crossword puzzles and web sites. Steve has a BS in Math (Univ. of Wash.), and an MS in Statistics and PhD in Education (Stanford); his publications.
- Steve is a long-time crossword buff -- solving puzzles sometimes on paper, now mostly on his iPad. He has published crosswords for the OLLI newsletter and Nine Points Magazine, and also created crosswords for for family and friends. His CrozzWord application was awarded 1st place in the Entertainment/Educational/Multimedia category in the JPDA 2002 Application Developers Contest for Zaurus and iPaq sponsored by Insignia Solutions, HP, Intel, Metrowerks, Sharp, Softbank Publishing and Sun Microsystems.
- After moving to Ashland in 2006 (after several visits in the mid-70s), he’s been enjoying non-technical activities such as hiking, biking, reading (esp. Sci-Fi), theater, improv comedy, and volunteering at Ashland CERT, OLLI at SOU and OSF.
- Enneagram Crucigram (crossword) Nine Points Magazine of the International Enneagram Association; 1/1/2013
- Steve Weyer: Confessions of a technology addict Ashland Daily Tidings; 8/29/2012
- Interview: "Clued in Cruciverbalist", crossword puzzle: "An OLLI Olio: Ooh La La"; [puzzle]; lots of O…L… words; SOU OLLI; LINK Newsletter, p5; Fall 2011
- Crossword music program, and interview with Steve (mp3; 96:22): Maya's Mix (radio show, on KSKQ-LP 94.9 FM, Ashland), Apr 29, 2011
- I welcome feedback -- during class or via Contact Us (under Home menu) -- about particular topics/issues you'd like to discuss, about the pace, level of detail, favorite puzzle sources, other courses you might like to take, etc.
- Session 1. Course Description, Instructor, Topics/Syllabus and Resources
- Why Do We Solve Puzzles?
- History: Milestones (in crosswords) and Media (music, fiction, theater, film, TV, culture)
- Practice: this course is approximately 2/3 presentation, 1/3 practice solving puzzles. If you've already taken this class (or would prefer to skip puzzle history, background and resources) and are looking for additional challenges, I encourage you to participate in one of my practice-only ("practicum") courses, where each session consists entirely of solving crossword puzzles as a group, and discussing the tricky clues and funny themes we find. e.g., CROSSWORDS: Practicum: Intermediate.
- Session 2. Terminology and Types of Crosswords
- Solving Strategies and Resources: tips, tools -- Part 1
- Session 6. WordPlay movie documentary (1:34); note: we'll start class 5 minutes early
- (no Practice; consider enrolling in CROSSWORDS: Practicum: Intermediate)
- These web pages will be used for course presentation & resources -- the following link (URL) is in the course catalog, and will be emailed to registered students:
- This online version allows you to preview the course before registering, and to explore items that we skim/skip, or that you miss, or want to refer to later -- there are many more article references, quotes, jokes, cartoons, puzzles and web sites than we will have time to cover in class. This format also allows me to update the course with new or revised items on an ongoing basis, plus provide a more mobile-friendly version.
- There are several options for navigating these pages:
top of screen
left: dropdown menu: select "OLLI Courses" -- click/tap a second time on items w/ subsections
right: Search box; specific words yield best (fewest) results
bottom of screen
left; '<': previous section
center; 'up': up a level
right; '>': next section
left (on section pages): select from table of contents
- For most topics, I generally refer to Wikipedia and New York Times (NYT) -- as good starting points (though certainly not the only ones) for exploration. Some sites may limit article access by imposing a monthly quota, or requiring a login or subscription. File formats will usually be indicated as [.pdf], [.puz], etc. Note: any images, puzzles or other media provided on this site are for instructional/personal use and should not be redistributed. Photo galleries -- on this page, and under Sources:Applications and Authoring -- should display properly in most modern web browsers (users of older versions of Internet Explorer (IE) may experience problems and see a warning message).
- Since these course web pages are dynamic (and lengthy), there are no paper handouts. However, for those who want an offline version (which is less formatted, less interactive and infrequently updated) for computer, tablet, eReader, or printer, you can download .pdf files (below) for the major sections of this course:
|Section Archive [.pdf]||# Pages||Size (MBytes)||Last Updated|
|Course Description, Instructor, Topics and Resources||07||0.5||1-Aug-2014|
|Why Do We Solve Puzzles?||22||1.2||1-Aug--2014|
|History: Milestones and Media||40||2.2||1-Aug-2014|
|Terminology and Types||11||0.8||1-Aug-2014|
|Puzzle Sources: Web Sites and Applications||64||3.7||8-Jul-2014|
|Authoring: Web Sites and Applications||21||1.0||1-Aug-2014|