Crosswords du Wren Go Mobile

It's been a long time since I've posted about one of my crosswords*. But instead of just another "hey look at the crossword that I made" post, I'm spicing this one up.

Through some investigation and lots of dinking with my new not-a-phone apps, I've figure out how anyone can do MY crosswords on their smart phone! (I'm currently working under the assumption that no one does them because it isn't overly convenient to print up a PDF)

Step one: download Shortyz to your smart device (I know it is available for Android but probably for iOS too). Or there might be other apps that support the .puz format ("Crosswords" for the iPhone/iPad is one).

Step two: go to crossword section of the games page and look for the puz link (which currently only exists for the most recent two puzzles).

Step three: click and start doing enjoying the wonder that is a homespun crossword.

All crosswords are also available in an html format and a PDF format for printing, so no mobile device is necessary. So if you're a crossworder, dive in. And if you see something you like, let me know. The biggest thrill* of creating crosswords is knowing that people do and enjoy them.
Wednesday December 28 2011File under: games

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Crosswords Creation Continues


Nobody thinks of the team it takes to make a crossword. Learn more about what it takes by watching this video, Garson Hampfield, Crossword Inker
Although it's been a while since I've posted about my crosswords, I'm still cranking them out. I haven't gotten around to submitting any more for publication, but it is on my list for this fall: clean one or two up real purty, and send them away*. I can almost see that "professional crossword creator" business card now.

If you want to have a go at my latest creation Scram!, I'd love to know what you think. Or catch up on any you've missed on the games page. Like all of them, if you are going to print, be sure to follow the "printable" link at the bottom of the page.

If you're not a crossword puzzle doer (as I know most of you aren't), you still might get a laugh out of this video. If you are a cruciverbalist, then you should really watch it! A mockumentary to rival the best. Enjoy!
Sunday September 26 2010File under: games

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Belated Bingo Booty

I am a month remiss in delivering the prize for Transportation Bingo. In my defense, the prize was going to be a postcard from wherever I happened to be along the road*. Steve, my live-abroad-live-aboard uncle who was the first to log a bingo, isn't really in a postcardable location*. In lieu of a postcard, I put together this. I hope it makes up for the lateness factor with its coolness factor.

All About Steve is my latest crossword (see all my crosswords here) that you don't need to know anything about this Steve to solve (although it was made esp. for this occasion). Everyone who is crosswordly inclined should give it a try.

(Oh, and this one hasn't been by my editor(s) yet, so you might find a typo or two, hopefully nothing worse. As the comments come in, I will update and fix, so the link above will be to the most current and correct version.)

((Double oh, and don't forget that most browsers don't print the puzzle correctly, so be sure to click on the "prinitable version" link to get the printable version.))
Wednesday January 27 2010File under: games

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Sunday Puzzler

One of the highlights of my Sunday is lying in bed and listening to the Sunday Puzzle on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday with Liane Hansen and Will Shortz. Many of you might remember when I got to play on air many years ago. I'm now convinced, after submitting many many answer since then and not getting on again, nor hearing of any repeat players, that they don't let you play on air twice. That's okay, though. There is another way I aspire to be a part: I want to submit a puzzle.

I've submitted a couple of puzzles that I think are pretty good over the years but none have been used yet. Instead of letting them go to waste in somebody's inbox, I thought maybe I should just let them go to waste here instead. If you are the puzzling type, give these a try:
  • Take the name of a popular actress with three names (e.g. Sarah Jessica Parker) Her middle name is a homonym* of a verb and her last name is a homonym of a noun used to do the verb (as in a shovel is used to dig). Who is this actress?
  • Take the familiar name* of a popular east coast beach town in 2 syllables. Reverse the two syllables to get the familiar name of a popular Pacific coast beach town.
  • Take the name of a well known world publication. Add an "A" somewhere in the middle and you will get the name of a summer treat.

Feel free to share your answers in the comments. The names of all those with correct answers will be entered in a drawing to play puzzle on the air with me when/if I ever get my own nationally syndicated radio show.
Sunday January 17 2010File under: games

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Costumed Frisbee

This past weekend, I made the trek* over to eastern Washington for a frisbee tournament. Well, if you want to get technical, it is called an ultimate tournament because "frisbee" is a trademarked name. Still, I call it frisbee.

Anyway, a couple things of note about this tournament:

1. Teams were supposed to play in costume. Our team took inspiration from The Princess Bride. We had a Humperdink, Buttercup, 2 Fezziks, Inigo Montoya, the "Boo Boo" rag lady, an RoUS, the Grandpa from the beginning, and 2 Dread Pirate Westleys. (I was one of the Westleys but was sorely outdone costume-wise. Alas.) Many aspects of the costumes, however, got shed throughout the day due to weather and hindrance of play concerns. (I tried to take pictures but my camera ran out of batteries. Hopefully someone from the team will post some pictures which I will intern re-post here.)

2. Speaking of weather, since when do we get 70 degree sunny days in Washington in November. Maybe I've been living on the wrong side of the mountains all these years. On Saturday, however, there was a wicked wind to contend with. We got our fair share of zone offense practice.

3. Traveling for sports in a non-academic environment is kind of fun. This was my first multi-day tournament that I went with a team (instead of meeting them there, picking up with a random team, or just commuting from home) and I really enjoyed it. Seeing new scenery, getting to spend time with good people, etc. etc. Yeehaw.
Tuesday November 3 2009File under: games, travel

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Custom Crosswords

On my last crossword post a couple of months ago, I mentioned the idea of custom crosswords. At the time, the idea was not so solid. Now, I'm pleased to say, it has come to fruition. I've done 3 custom crosswords for specific occasions and/or people. Some of them are generic enough that you don't need to be "in" to do them. Other ones might have a few clues that leave you stumped, but a good puzzler would be able to figure them out using the cross clues.

Making a custom crossword for a person or occasion makes me happy. It is a way of honoring something with my own twist. I wouldn't, of course, go and make a crossword puzzle for a crossword hater. Most of the fun for me is in seeing the person get excited about doing it. And since there are so few people in my life that are crossword lovers, I don't imagine I will be making too many custom crosswords again.

But if you are among those crossword lovers, give some of my creations a try. Then, when I am a famous published crossword puzzle creator*, you can say "I knew his puzzles back when he was doing them for free on his dinky little blog."
Monday August 31 2009File under: games

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Bingo! X 2

Are there any Scrabble players in the audience? I thought so. So I assume you know what a bingo is in terms of Scrabble. For those of you that don't, it is using all 7 tiles in a given turn. The reward is an additional 50 point bonus.

In a recent game, I not only scored a bingo (a rare enough occasion in itself), I scored two bingos BACK TO BACK on the second and third turns. It's pretty much the highlight of my scrabble career. INGRATE and TOSSING were my words, both pretty low scorers aside from the bonus. But still. Then on the fourth turn, I was one letter away from a 3rd consecutive bingo, but alas.

What's your highest scoring scrabble play ever?
Sunday July 12 2009File under: games

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Crossword - Ten Commandments (For Rover)

It's been a while since I've posted a crossword, and since once upon a time Wednesday was crossword day, I figure what the heck. My latest (#17*) is titled Ten Commandments (for Fido) (printable version here). To find out what that means, I guess you'll have to go do the puzzle.

If you are a crossword person, be sure to check out all the other ones I've made on the games page (scroll to the bottom). Typically when I release a new crossword, I post it there and also in the "Recent Content" area of the right hand column (instead of giving each one its own post), so keep your eyes peeled.

Lastly, if anyone has an "in" at a publication of any sort that might have an interest in publishing a crossword (newspaper, 'zine, newsletter, weekly, etc.), let's chat. Or if you've got an occasion where a customized crossword puzzle might be a fun addition, let me know.
Wednesday May 27 2009File under: games

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Crossword For a Sunny Day

With all this sun we've been having recently, I was inspired (between my many wonderful hikes)to write a crossword. "What does have a crossword have to do with the sun?", you ask. Do it and you will see. Online version here and printable version here.

(Also, if crosswords written by a witty guy you kind of know are your kind of thing, I think Chris's uncle has put a few out. Otherwise, you can go check out my list of mediocre crosswords on the games page. (Scroll all the way to the bottom. (There are more than just the ones I've made posts about.)))

So, at trivia last night*, I brought out a copy of this crossword*. In between rounds and when we were waiting for our score*, the team put their heads together in working on it. None were avid crossworders*, but they had a great time* and finished it up. Let me tell you, there are few greater pleasures for me than seeing people do my crosswords and enjoying themselves. The point of this rambling story is*, however, if you have some time to kill, consider doing a crossword. Oh*.
Wednesday January 21 2009File under: games

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Pictionary Telephone

What happens when you mix the wonderful drawing game pictionary(tm) and that wacky whispering kids game telephone? Pictionary Telephone of course!

Here's how it works:
1. Everyone starts with a half sheet of paper. (The more vertically oriented the better. I usually split 8x11 sheets vertically.)
2. On the top of the sheet, each person writes a short common phrase (book title, catch phrase, adage, etc.
3. Here comes the crucial step: each person folds the top of their paper back so that the phrase is still visible, but upside on the backside, leaving the front of the paper empty. Diagram 1a.
4. Once everyone has written their phrase, every passes their sheet to the left.
5. Now everyone draws a picture representing the phrase on his/her sheet of paper. It is best to keep the picture small, again aligned to the top of the page. Pictionary rules apply: no letters, numbers, or symbols.
6. Fold the paper in the same manner as before. This fold should cause the original phrase to be hidden (by being folded under) and only the picture to show (upside down on the back of the paper). Diagram 1b. *
7. Pass the papers to the left.
8. Now everyone writes what phrase they think the picture represents (again at the top of the paper.)
9. Now pass again. This cycle of guessing the phrase from a drawing and drawing a phrase repeats until there is no more paper. After the sheets are mostly used up, unfold them and pass them around, so everyone can see the hilarity that came about.

Sometimes the drawings are so good and the phrases so memorable that they make it all the way through without being changed: example 1, example 2.

Sometimes things start out in the right direction and take a bit of a left turn:example 3, example 4, example 5.

Sometimes it's not even close*: example 6.
Wednesday December 3 2008File under: games

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