When you’re having fun with words, anything is possible: Paul’s Create a Crossword Tour 2013… the story so far

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What would life be like if it were the norm to play games with words, every day? Like when we hear a funny joke, or see a great newspaper headline brilliantly playing on words, when words become our playthings we can’t wait to tell people about what we’ve seen or heard, and to share the fun.

This is what is happening as a result of all the great efforts of word lovers across the country and beyond. New friendships are being formed, a fresh excitement about playing with words is being created, and we’re having a whole lot of laughs too!

It’s just the beginning of a year of celebrations for the crossword. From 2014 onward, we’ll all be seeing words in a totally new light, as we create new word-loving communities, having fun together.

We decided to begin this journey with the idea of a tour around the country, so this is the story of one week of my crossword travels to many great locations around the country (cities and towns below).

In the following eight posts, you can read all about the whole tour, location by location, and have a go at the puzzles we created together. You can either read the whole article or choose a location from the list below.

The Brighton Puzzle Story

The Bristol Puzzle Story

The Dorset Puzzle Story (Poole)

The Oxford Puzzle Story

The Shropshire Puzzle Story (Shrewsbury)

The Liverpool Puzzle Story

The Manchester Puzzle Story

The London Puzzle Story

Start of the tour and how the tour works

This is where it all begins – The ‘Create a Crossword Tour, 2013’.

This is the first chapter of our story, the story of what crosswords can cause locally, nationally, and across the world.

Heading out of Brighton I’m on my way at the start of a big adventure.

Awaiting me around the country is an extraordinary team of crossword-loving friends around the country, who have kindly invited me to their localities to play a crossword game.

These great people have given up their free time, and pulled out all the stops to ensure there is a hired space every night of the seven-stop tour.

Each local community of word lovers will be creating a crossword all about their local city or county, and sharing all the things about their area they love the most. And agreements in newspapers across the country are already in place to publicise the tour, and to publish the puzzles we create. You can also download and attempt the puzzles from crosswordcentenary.com

The format of the crossword events simply consists of:

  1. Brainstorming loads of words about the guests’ favourite city.
  2. Fitting many of them into a grid, and then filling up the rest of the grid together, working as a team.
  3. Writing clues together, with only a few being cryptic (as not everyone can solve cryptic crosswords – yet) the rest of the clues being of the straight variety.

Here’s a great film produced by Jonathan Hall of the Liverpool puzzle evening:


Thank you – and what’s next….

Thank you so much to all those who hosted our wonderful events, to all those who pressed the local press relentlessly, and above all to my guests who attended our shows.

For those of you who weren’t able to make it, or simply weren’t aware of the tour, DON’T WORRY. Please just subscribe to crosswordcentenary.com to receive news of further events during the year. I intend to do more tours later in the year, and I’d love the opportunity to meet you.

But for the moment, this is the end of the tour. Back home to Brighton, my lovely wife Taline and our beautiful baby Aram.

This is only the beginning. This is the beginning of a movement that will bring fun with words to the world. I’d love you to join in. Do stay in touch, because….

Further down the line we shall be forming teams, founding word-lovers’ clubs, some may open word game cafes, with a puzzle provided every morning for clients to solve. Others will simply enjoy the process of creating puzzles among themselves; with family and friends, about all the things they love. A football-based puzzle, a birders’ puzzle; a puzzle written by and about one’s family…  There couldn’t be a better opportunity to share what’s important to you, and to learn about what’s important to friends and family we love.

It’s about connection. It’s about friendship.

Subscribe to crosswordcentenary.com to find out what’s happening next.

And spread the word.

Much love and respect,

John Halpern (aka Paul)

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