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

    Cut through the clutter of competing messages

    There's a little piece of your brain — it's called the Broca's area — that's responsible for helping you sort through all of the many messages you get each day.

    Play With Your Words: Cut through the clutter of competing messages

    Well-worn phrases and familiar ideas don't activate the Broca's area. Plain old 'splainin' doesn't do anything for it either. But creative techniques like wordplay do.

    At Master the Art of the Storyteller — our two-day hands-on creative-writing master class on July 25-26 in Portland — you’ll learn how to tickle your readers' Broca's area — and cut through the clutter of competing messages — with wordplay. Specifically, 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.

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