- 2013 Spring: Ashland; 2012 Spring: Ashland; 2011 Spring: Ashland, Medford
- Sessions: 6
- Course URL: http://communicrossings.com/olli-course-crosswords-and-you
- Do you find life puzzling (common in crossword-themed songs)? We will explore the history and culture of crosswords (the crossword centennial was in 2013), learn about the secret language of clues, crossword formats, online sources and applications, and cruciverbalism (creating crosswords) -- while solving puzzles as a group during part of each session to improve our skills. For the final session, we'll watch the movie documentary WordPlay. Students with Internet access can access course materials and suggested puzzles. More about course topics below.
About the Instructor
- Steve Weyer is a long-time crossword buff -- solving puzzles sometimes on paper, now mostly on his iPad. He has created crosswords for the OLLI newsletter and for family and friends ; he's also a technology addict, and web site and software developer.
- Steve has 45+ years experience with computer software, including research and development for Stanford University, Xerox PARC, Atari, HP Labs and Apple. In 2002, he developed and distributed a crossword application (CrozzWord*) for several handheld devices. 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, volunteering, and OLLI classes. At OLLI, Steve has also offered E-books, Internet History and Issues, and Crossword Practicums: Intermediate and Beginner.
- Enneagram Crucigram (crossword): various puzzle formats; Nine Points Magazine of the International Enneagram Association; 1/1/2013;
- Steve Weyer: Confessions of a technology addict Ashland Daily Tidings; Aug 29, 2012
- Interview: "Clued in Cruciverbalist", crossword puzzle: "An OLLI Olio: Ooh La La"; OLLI LINK Newsletter, p5; Fall 2011 [puzzle]
- 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
- *CrozzWord 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; CrozzWord is no longer supported/sold.
- 1. Introduction: Syllabus and Course Materials (below)
- 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 separate practice-only 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. You're welcome to take both.
- 2. Terminology and Types of Crosswords
- Solving Strategies and Resources: tips, tools [Part 1]
- 3. Solving Strategies and Resources: tips, tools [Part 2]
- 4. Puzzle Sources: Web Sites and Applications
- 5. Authoring: Web Sites and Applications
- 6. WordPlay movie documentary (1:34); note: we'll start class 5 minutes early
- These online pages will be used for course presentation & resources, and will be updated before, during and after the course:
- You can also find this link on the OLLI site: Course Materials -- at least for the current term & course number.
- This online version allows you to preview the course before registering, and to explore items (articles, web sites) that we skim/skip or that you miss, or want to refer to later; it also allows me to update the course easily with new or revised items. It's scalable and mobile-friendly for smaller screens.
- There will be no PowerPoint slides or paper handouts. For those who prefer a printed version, or an offline document for computer, tablet or eReader, you can download a large .pdf file including all sections of this course (includes active web links, but plainer format, infrequent updates): CROSSWORDS_and_YOU-Weyer.pdf [139 pp.; 9.2 MB; 13-Jan-2014]
- I welcome feedback -- during class or via Contact Us (under Home menu) -- about particular topics/issues you'd like to discuss, about the pace and level of detail, favorite puzzle sources, which of my courses you might like to take, etc.
- 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 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 (Internet Explorer (IE) users may experience problems and see a warning message).