World-accredited puzzle master Will Shortz will present an interactive lecture at UCSB on Saturday as part of the Arts & Lectures series.
Held at 8 p.m. in Campbell Hall, the event will feature various participatory puzzles and brain teasers. Shortz is the crossword puzzle editor for The New York Times as well as the puzzle master for National Public Radio’s “Weekend Edition Sunday.” He founded both the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament and the World Puzzle Championship and has authored dozens of books throughout his career.
Arts & Lectures series Senior Writer and Publicist Meghan Henry said she expects Shortz to put on a performance suitable for every age and creed of puzzle-enthusiast.
“He can tailor his puzzle to the audience,” Henry said. “He encourages audience participation. Since most of the people there are puzzle fans to begin with, it always has a lot of momentum. It was just such a good experience the first time that we wanted him back.”
Shortz submitted his first puzzle to Venture, a children’s magazine, at the age of 14. He is the only person in the world to hold a degree in enigmatology — the study of puzzles — a major he created through Indiana University’s Individualized Major Program.
Additionally, Shortz starred in “Wordplay,” a documentary about the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. The movie also featured stars such as Jon Stewart and Bill Clinton.
English professor James Donelan said Shortz’s puzzles are both entertaining and educational.
“They’re good for enhancing your mental flexibility and they expose you to language in a way that can help you with a lot of things,” Donelan said. “It’s always good to expand your vocabulary, but it’s even more important to stop and think about what words are in themselves. The more attention you pay to individual words, the more precisely you’ll use them, and the better a thinker you’ll be.”
Courtesy of Borders, books by Will Shortz will be available for purchase and signing at the event. Tickets are $30 for the general public and $15 for UCSB students.