Puzzled?

You’re not goofing off, you’re just developing wordplay skills

If Dave Thompson weren’t so easy to love, he’d be impossible to take.

BRAIN TEASER: Work out your brain for wordplay at Dave Thompson’s puzzle site.

Both brilliant communicator and mathematical mastermind (I know! I had no idea these folks existed either!), Thompson directs PR efforts for the Oregon Department of Transportation by day and produces a puzzle blog by night. In his spare time, he’s a fabulous dad and devoted PRSA leader. (Plus he’s a hilarious raconteur and my favorite happy hour partner in Portland.)

I myself would never even attempt to solve one of Thompson’s Sodukos. But if you enjoy puzzles, rest assured: Magic Word Square isn’t a fascinating waste of time, it’s a fabulous way to train your brain for wordplay.

At Magic Word Square, you’ll find a new word puzzle each day and its solution the next morning. The puzzles start out simpler on Monday and grow more sophisticated by Friday.

On Saturdays, you’ll find “Tom Swifties,” where you solve a series of small Sodukos to spell out an adverbial pun that simultaneously describes a speaker and refers to the speaker’s statement.

“Once you’re done, you’ll groan out loud, if I’ve done my job,” Thompson says. “The adverbial puns are BAAAAD.”

Intrigued? Check out my favorite Dave Thompson puzzle and its solution.

  • Play With Your Words

    Neurologists call it “the pleasure of the text,” the reward readers get from figuring out figurative language. (It can be quite a reward: If your wordplay is funny enough, your readers’ brains even deliver a little dose of dopamine. Nice!)

    That good feeling puts readers in an agreeable mood and may even open their minds to your message. In fact, one study found that ads using rhetorical techniques were 166% more likely to persuade readers and 229% more likely to be remembered than ads that did not.

    The good news is that wordplay doesn’t take talent. It doesn’t take creativity. Instead, it takes techniques, tricks and time.

    At Portland creative writing workshopMaster the Art of the Storyteller — a two-day creative writing master class on July 25-26, 2018 in Portland — you’ll learn how to:

    • Go beyond twist of phrase: Learn to flip phrases; compress details; sub soundalikes; list, rhyme and twist — even coin new words.
    • Find online tools that do most of the work for you: Walk away with links to some of the best (free!) wordplay resources — as well as ideas for how to use them.
    • Polish your skills in our wordplay workout: Get “recipes” for creating 14 types of wordplay, from anagram to etymology to oxymoron. (And yes, that portmanteau does make your butt look smaller.)
    • Get inspired by some of the world’s most creative headlines.
    • Stop writing groaners: Learn techniques that let you come up with surprising lines — and leave the clichés to the hacks.

    Learn more about the Master Class.

    Register for Master the Art of Storytelling Workshop in Portland


    Browse all upcoming Master Classes.

    Would you like to hold an in-house Make Your Copy More Creative workshop? Contact Ann directly.

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