- 2014 Spring: Ashland; [SKLL107]; Thu, 9-10:30; 4/3-5/22
generally offered each term; 2013 Fall: Ashland; Practicum: Beginner: 2012 Fall: Ashland
- Sessions: 8
- Course URL: http://communicrossings.com/olli-course-crosswords-practicum-intermediate
- We will practice solving crossword puzzles as a group, and discuss the tricky clues and funny themes we discover. This intermediate-level, practice-only course will generally focus on puzzles of New York Times Thursday and Sunday difficulty. It 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. More about course topics and style 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 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. 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 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
- I welcome feedback during class or via Contact Us. In particular, let me know which courses you'd like me to offer.
Topics, Materials, Process
- Practicum: 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.
- We 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;
there will be no PowerPoint slides or paper handouts.
- We'll select several puzzles each session, usually available online, and appropriate in difficulty for class ability & interest; for example:
- NYT Wed (free)
- NYT Thu-Sun instructor has NYT Digital Subscription
- Merl Reagle (4 most recent); instructor has saved older puzzles
- LA Times (past 4 weeks) User (left column): login, or register for free account; Archives: LA Times (right column)
- theme-specific examples
- cryptics, e.g., Cru Cryptics beginner-friendly, …
- other "more difficult" online puzzles…
- We'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.,
- For cryptics, we'll review different clue types, e.g.,