Bill Maier

I love 19th century English literature and one of my favorite authors is Anthony Trollope. He chronicled the life of the clergy, mid-level government workers, the British aristocracy, and a host of others. In his attempt to add some levity to his works, he created a multitude of terrific character names; Farmer Subsoil, Doctor Fillgrave, Sir Raffle Buffle, Sir Ricketty Giggs, Joe Mutters, and Lord Weazeling to name a few. In 2017, these were some of the first word scramble puzzles that I created. However, I quickly realized that Trollope’s relative obscurity to 21st century readers and the challenge of unscrambling word soups like RIEGISTRCTIGSKG  (Sir Ricketty Giggs) would make the scrambles unsolvable and not very enjoyable.

My focus quickly pivoted to literary characters that would have more universal appeal and be more recognizable. I started creating word scrambles for Frankenstein, Captain Ahab, Holden Caulfield, Bilbo Baggins, Gunga Din and dozens of others famous names in fiction. These puzzles formed the first CWS book I created (not yet published).

As I worked on the puzzles, I realized that other elements needed to be considered to create a challenging but straightforward puzzle experience. I created a scramble dictionary – nearly 1,500 words. These words were family-friendly, recognizable and would not have the potential for multiple correct answers. As an example, RUBHS could be BRUSH or SHRUB. Both are acceptable answers. This letter combination and other words with multiple solutions are not used in the Celebrity Word Scramble series.

Also, with the potential to create CWS books on a variety of topics, I knew I would run out of five and six letter words at some point. As a result, while a word is used across multiple books, the same scramble clue is never repeated. However, the same word is never utilized twice in the same CWS book.

With the basic guidelines in place, I decided to start creating puzzles on other topics I loved, and subjects I thought others would enjoy as well. My next books were sports related. I combined my childhood love of baseball (not published), basketball (published), and football (published) with my love for puzzles, and created the CWS Hall of Fame Series. My hope was that folks who grew up cheering for the likes of Joe Namath, Elgin Baylor, and Mickey Mantle would love celebrating their accomplishments, while enjoying the challenge of a puzzle. To date I have created CWS Hall of Fame series books that have yet to be published on Boxing, Bowling, Motorsports, Hockey, Tennis, and Golf. Each book contains at least 100 puzzles on Hall of Famers from each of these great sports.

From sports, I moved on to other topics that I believed puzzlers would enjoy. Famous names in The Movies, Science & Industry, Authors, American Government, and History are all books waiting in the wings to be published if there is interest in more CWS publications. I also created a Junior Sports CWS with four and five letter scrambles on famous current athletes. There is even a famous Cities of the World Scramble book ready-to-go. As you can see, potential topics for the Celebrity Word Scramble series are unlimited.

Everyone has their own particular method or strategy for solving puzzles. Personally, I work on solving each of the scrambled words first. Once I have collected the letters for the final solution, I focus on solving the first name. Usually, once the first name is solved, the last name becomes obvious given the category. When I can’t get the first name, I go to the clues for help. Of course, the beauty of the scrambles is that each person can decide how best to proceed. My hope is that CWS challenges the mind and adds a bit of enjoyment to the day.

Thanks for supporting Celebrity Word Scramble! I welcome your feedback.

All the best!

Bill Maier

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