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The Gamer’s Bookshelf: The Brain Works: 20 Minute Crossword Puzzles

THE GAMER’S BOOKSHELF:

THE BRAIN WORKS: 20 MINUTE WHILE-YOU-WAIT CROSSWORD PUZZLES

 

by Matt Gaffney

(Sellers Publishing, Inc., 288 pages each, $9.95 each)

 brainworks1The main focus of Gamers Alliance is, as the name implies, games. Yet, while today’s world may be getting smaller due to improvements in the means of communication, the World of Games seems to be getting larger as it continues to encompass many diverse diversions. One offshoot, often closely linked with games, is puzzles and, among the vast multitude of puzzles out there, the type that is probably the most popular is the ubiquitous crossword. Sellers Publishing, in launching its new imprint titled “The Brain Works”, has published a clever collection (actually two clever collections) of crossword puzzles in the aptly named The Brain Works: 20 Minute Crossword Puzzles.

Both of these volumes are the brainchild of Matt Gaffney who has an impressive “crossword resume”. He has, in fact, created crossword puzzles for over 15 years and his creations have appeared in such well known newspapers as the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsday and the Wall Street Journal. Over the years, he has authored seven books of crosswords, four books of variety puzzles and the 2006 volume Gridlock: Crossword Puzzles and the Mad Geniuses Who Create Them. With these two new books, Gaffney has discovered a niche in the puzzle world and filled it.

brainworks2The titles of the books underscore their purpose: these are crosswords to entertain you when you are “on the road” or “while you wait”, designed to fill the time that all of us, sooner or later, have to fill like when waiting for the commuter train, or sitting in a doctor’s office or stuck in an airport waiting for your (delayed) flight or… well, you get the idea.

Each book is small in size (5″ x 7″) making it easy to fit into a pocket or purse but packed with puzzle pleasure. There are 125 crosswords in each volume (with solutions in the back, of course). The puzzles follow a similar format: all are laid out in a 13 x 13 grid (but, of course, the exact configuration changes with each puzzle). Each puzzle is individually themed (providing a “clue within the clues”) and, although I haven’t done them all, the ones I have worked on seem to strike the right balance between easy and impossible.

Those of us who love words in general and crossword puzzles in particular should find The Brain Works: 20 Minute Crossword Puzzles one of those simple pleasures: easy to tote (due to its small size), fun to do (ascribe that to clever clues and themes) and a good return on your purchase as those 125 crosswords per book will keep you busy for a long long time as you fill in the wasted minutes between doctors, trains and planes with something to stretch your mind. And, at such a reasonable price, it will stretch the buying power of your leisure dollar too. – – – – – – – Herb Levy

 


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Winter 2012 GA Report Articles

 

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THE GAMER'S BOOKSHELF: THE BRAIN WORKS: 20 MINUTE WHILE-YOU-WAIT CROSSWORD PUZZLES by Matt Gaffney (Sellers Publishing, Inc., 288 pages each, $9.95 each) The main focus of Gamers Alliance is, as the name implies, games. Yet, while today's world may be getting smaller due to improvements in the means of communication, the World of Games seems to be getting larger as it continues to encompass many ...
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