My father-in-law Jerry is great at word puzzles. Over the holidays, I showed him SpellTower on my iPad. By the time I took my iPad back at the end of the trip, he had already broken the SpellTower “Puzzle Mode” record on the Game Center leader board by almost 100,000 points. So I asked Jerry if he would share his strategy
"Lexcavator is an arcade/word game for Mac, PC, and Linux. The goal: guide your guy (@) deeper into an infinite of letters by clearing words from the board! Multiple game modes, detailed record-keeping, online global leaderboards—there's something here for everybody! Pay what you want (even $0, if you are so inclined)." [via mefi projects] [more inside]
Puzzability is a puzzle writing company created by three former editors of Games Magazine. Start with their puzzle sampler and come back for a set of regularly updated games. Puzzability is also responsible for creating the New York Times' intricately crafted Op-Ed Puzzles. Unlike the Times' daily crosswords, these wonderfully elaborate puzzles are available in a free archive.
Since Wordplay has come out, crossword puzzles have been on the rise. If you want to join in on the fun, read this primer by Will Shortz to get started, then download Across Lite, head to Cruciverb, and do free puzzles in the right-hand sidebar. Will Johnston's page contains a huge repository of Across Lite puzzles. If you get stuck, can't figure out why an entry is correct, or just want to chat about a grid's brilliant construction, try reading the crossword blogs. The best two are Diary of a Crossword Fiend and Rex Parker Does the New York Times Crossword Puzzle. (Caution! Spoilers abound!) And, if you want to try your hand at constructing some crosswords of your own (submission guidelines for various papers here), Crossword Compiler is an outstanding piece of software. [Via this AskMetafilter question]
Verbotomy - wordplay: create daily neologisms based on a given definition and illustration. (via Bifurcated Rivets)
Labor Intensive is a new online puzzle extravaganza in the style of the MIT Mystery Hunt and the aforelinked Puzzle Boat. Appease the Gods by performing twelve puzzly labors. Good luck!
Fsaturday Flash Fun: CryptoQuote. Other word games featured at East of the Web are the Tetris-like PopWord (and its multiplayer companion [beginner and advanced, respectively]), the MasterMind-like CodeWord, and the vaguely Scrabble-ish 8 Letters in Search of a Word.
Etymology-wise, which hormone is an island? What word both denotes a prime and euphemizes Satan? What word denotes "the future" and abbreviates the unknown? Is urine pith? These are some of the questions from "Moot: The World's Toughest Language Game," a homemade and little-known board game for lovers of words. Some puzzles are available online; there are a few more available on a page detailing the interesting story behind the game's creation. You can sign up to have a new language puzzle e-mailed to you every week.
The OEDILF is an audacious project which is attempting to write a limerick for every word in the English language. 642 limericks have been completed so far. Here's an overview of the project. Is it possible? Here's what editor-in-chief Chris J. Stolin says:
Skeptics say it's inconceivable.(via languagehat.)
A new OED? Unbelievable!
But I feel secure
That if we only endure,
It's a goal that is wholly achievable!
Scrabble, as the experts play it. Review various championship scrabble games -- play by play, word by word. The board at the end of the final game of the 2001 World Championship includes such oddities as GAJO, DARG, and VOZHD, but also WITTIEST and PADDLERS. (You can follow that game from the beginning. Looks like the 2002 tournament doesn't happen for another few months.)