OLLI Course: CROSSWORDS Practicum: Intermediate

Course Description

  • conversation how are you? 2015 Winter: Ashland; Sessions: 8?
    generally offered 1-2 times/year in Ashland; 2014 Spring; 2013 Fall; Practicum: Beginner: 2012 Fall
  • Course URL: http://communicrossings.com/olli-course-crosswords-practicum-intermediate
  • In this intermediate-level, practice-only course, we will practice solving crossword puzzles as a group.
  • We will generally focus on puzzles of New York Times Thursday and Sunday difficulty; however, depending on ability and interest, we may also attempt NYT Fri & Sat, or 'easy' Cryptics.
  • We'll discuss the tricky clues and funny themes we discover.
  • This practicum is open not only to those who have taken my earlier Crosswords courses, but also to others who would like to improve their crossword skills.
  • Below: more about Instructor, Topics and Resources.

About the Instructor

  • steve on iPadSteve Weyer is a long-time crossword buff -- solving puzzles sometimes on paper, now mostly on his iPad. He has created crosswords for family and friends -- and the OLLI newsletter; 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. Degrees: BS Math (Univ. of Wash.); MS Statistics, PhD Education (Stanford).
  • 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, reading (esp. Sci-Fi), theater, improv comedy, volunteering, and OLLI classes. At OLLI, Steve has offered CROSSWORDS and YOU, E-books, and Internet History and Issues.
  • Steve's Publications; Puzzles; Bios: CROSSWORDS and YOU, Internet History&Issues, E-books
  • 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.

Course Topics

  • 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, while we solve 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.
  • Less experienced solvers are welcome; and/or you can consider my introductory CROSSWORDS and YOU course which covers history and culture, vocabulary, clues, themes, formats, sources, applications, and authoring -- along with some practice (1/3 of each session) involving easier puzzles. You're welcome to take both.

Course Resources

  • curriculum menuThis web page 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 explore items that we skim/skip, or that you miss, or want to refer to later. 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. Note: there will be no other versions, e.g., .pdf, as in my other longer courses.
  • crosswords hintsWe'll select several puzzles each session, usually available online, and appropriate in difficulty for class ability & interest; for example:
  • There will be refresher for certain puzzle types, e.g., rebuses; for cryptics, we'll review different clue types, e.g.,
  • across lite downloadWe'll display each puzzle using an interactive crossword application like
  • A 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. The more experienced among us should refrain from answering for a few seconds to allow others to consider the clues.
  • I'll highlight interesting clues or themes, and refer to online solving resources. We might refer to blogs for further explanations, e.g.,