OLLI Course: ?CROSSWORDS Practicum: Beginner

Course Description

  • conversation how are youBeginner practice opportunities:
    • attend CROSSWORDS and YOU: introductory class combines lecture and practice; usually offered once/year
    • participate in CROSSWORDS Practicum: Intermediate: practice-only group, where we solve and discuss more difficult puzzles; usually offered each quarter
    • request that I offer this Beginner-specific practice-only group; currently, no plans...
  • ??? (see note above); 2012 Fall, Ashland
  • Sessions: 6
  • Course URL: http://communicrossings.com/olli-course-crosswords-practicum-beginner
  • We'll practice solving crossword puzzles as a group, and discuss the tricky clues and funny themes we discover. This practice-only course is open to anyone who would like to improve their crossword skills, especially those who have taken my introductory CROSSWORDS and YOU course. We'll focus on puzzles of NYT (New York Times) Monday & Tuesday level difficulty (and maybe harder). Students with Internet access can access reference materials and suggested puzzles. More about course topics and style below.

About the Instructor

Topics, Materials, Process

  • beach puzzle capital of norwayPracticum: prac·ti·cum [prak-ti-kuhm] n. "the part of a [university] course consisting of practical work in a particular field"
  • There will be no planned presentations -- just puzzle practice. However, in the context of solving puzzles, I will highlight interesting/unusual clues and themes, answer questions, and mention reference materials (from my CROSSWORDS and YOU course) that you can access later.
  • If you're looking for an introduction to crosswords, including history and culture, vocabulary, clues, themes, formats, sources, applications, and authoring -- along with some practice (1/3 of each session), consider taking my OLLI course: CROSSWORDS and YOU.
  • More experienced solvers (though flexible beginners are welcome) may prefer to enroll in an Practice-only course for Intermediate puzzles -- usually offered Fall, Winter and Spring.
  • menuWe will solve puzzles that are available online; examples under During Class
  • This online page will be used for course resources:
  • You will also find this link on the OLLI site: Course Materials -- at least for the current term & course number.
  • This online version allows you to explore items (puzzles, 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. These pages may be updated during the course -- and afterwards if I offer it later. There will be no PowerPoint slides or paper handouts.


During Class
  • We'll select several puzzles each session, usually available online, and appropriate in difficulty for class ability & interest; for example:
  • We'll display each puzzle using the Across Lite application (optional: free download for Macintosh, Windows and iPad).
  • across lite downloadA puzzle can be done in any order. However, to minimize group confusion, we'll generally work together on the same area of the puzzle, focus on the same clues, and fill-in a consensus answer -- or skip to nearby clues if we seem stuck.
  • The solving emphasis will be on learning and fun -- rather than on perfection and speed. Those with more experience should refrain from answering for a few seconds to allow beginners to consider the clues.
  • I'll highlight interesting clues or themes. We might refer to blogs for further explanations, e.g.,