Mind Master X Words
A simple crossword? No, it is an intellectual activity that will have ongoing scope for new developments and might offer participants a way to make a sale-able commodity or even join a publishing program as a designer, equivalent to a share-holder in any royalties.
X Words format can be any one of a dozen styles of puzzle. Samples may be drawn from a specific field including, but not limited to entertainment, sport, science, biology, technology, space travel, or geographic features.
It could also include specialised words including ancient words in the English language (mickle, muckle, young'n, gainsay) historical events (coronations, battles and armies, crimes), or species such as wild-life, species of particular animals and even the human genome. The scope is limited only by the participants' collective imagination.
But its not that easy!
There might be a minimum number of letters or numbers; and each letter might have a specific value, such that letters in verbs might be 2 points; consonants 1 point; and some letters like 'x' and 'z' have special values. The total score of the puzzle based on these features might be one of the determinants of a very classy entry. Mathematicians might come up with something spectacular.
International competition should be encouraged. The puzzle is not limited to English language, although crossing of language boundaries would demand extraordinary skills.
There have been precursors to the Mind Masters' X Words. Cipher crosswords were used in WWII. These could be made more competitive by introducing a colour (color) value to specific letters. Another type, 'skeleton crosswords,' don't reveal the location of the particular entry so that each entry could be applicable to more than one location. (Ooh! That sounds like brain torture!)
Design a Mind Master X Word puzzle and share it with enthusiasts. We can provide a register of enthusiasts to facilitate co-operation and sharing. We can also provide guidelines for publication of your book of puzzles, either as an individual or in cooperation with friends. Perhaps Google Play might yield a good return for your cooperative booklet? This is how to pay for your next holiday.”
“Try your hand at making one of the Mind Master X Word puzzles using your own template and employing some of the criteria described here. You can call them 'Mind Master', 'Brain Jerkers' or 'Mind Jerkers': we are not aware of any claim to these names and styles. There may be some other titles that have some kind of copyright.
*There are thousands of names that have been invented by skilled enthusiasts to give a special character to their puzzles. We have tried to be original but it seems unlikely that anybody would claim copyright. It is a costly business. Plagiarism aside! Imagine the law court where plagiarism is contested by lawyers argueing over X word styles and clues for several days. That would be one way of getting square with a difficult magistrate.
1. Determine a realistic minimum and maximum for the number of characters.
2. Adopt an average template.
3. Will you use a traditional template, or a skeleton template as described above.
4. Codeword; wordfit; picture; logic; geo; bio; techno; social etc. Enthusiasts might choose several styles for a co-operative venture.
5. Will you have a target for allocated values, verbs, consonants, pronouns, adjectives and the frequency of special characters like x and z.
6. Text direction, language limitations.
7. Exclusion of blashpemy, profanity etc. (You don't have to be a prude, but people define themselves, irreparably, by word choice whether spoken or written.
8. How about a secret (cipher) code? (Be careful! The code-breakers of today have a lot more technology to employ.)
9. Colour code. Is that getting beyond the difficulty limits?
11. Numerical, or mixed numerical and lit.
12. Acrostic: the writer is an author, but he would run a mile.
13. Arrowed: now here's a chance for European linguistic cooperation. What about Chinese?
14. Template: (I am looking at an American-style crossword that has 63 items, crossways and downways, 15x14 lines, 210 squares and only 31 of them are black. A lot of work there! Check it out on Wikipedia).
15. Good Luck. We would love to hear from you.
Respondents, please indicate your willingness for us to publish your details, in code if you like, on a register of enthusiasts. That will help others who might seek to cooperate with you.
Children: you must use a code, like “Mind-Master Genius”; its fun making code. Get Mum and Dad to help you, and no photos required, nor should they be shared! If someone asks for one, send them a photo of your cat or dog, or one from down the street.
Vulnerable adults: we don't want to be party to breaching your privacy. Use a code please.
The John D'Mille publishing team
Writers and editors in the John D'Mille writers group use Visual Thesaurus (http://www.visualthesaurus.com/)