Can you think of the 3-letter acronym for a discovery made by Swiss scientist Friedrich Miescher?
How about the 8-letter word for Bitcoin’s most sophisticated mining rig?
Many engineers, who already describe themselves as problem-solvers, now have what may be the first e-book of crossword puzzles created specifically for technology professionals. IEEE-USA’s new Engineering Crossword Puzzles for Adults is an enjoyable and mentally energizing collection of 25 crossword puzzles. Myles Mellor, one of the most popular puzzle writers in the United States, developed the puzzles for IEEE-USA E-BOOKS. At present, more than 80 of his crossword puzzles, reaching more than two million people, are published every month.
According to statistics presented at the 2017 Digital Book World Conference, crossword puzzle books’ popularity is on the rise. Moreover, it is safe to say that millions of people of all ages enjoy crossword puzzles because they are relaxing, enjoyable, and help to reduce stress. Many fans believe the puzzles also encourage a better vocabulary, as well as improved memory and brain function. They are thought to improve mental acuity because evaluating and analyzing some intentionally tricky clues, put there by the puzzle writer, is often necessary to solve crosswords.
“Nearly everyone enjoys doing a good crossword puzzle, so why not offer our members an e-book of crosswords developed especially for them,” says Georgia Stelluto, IEEE-USA Publishing Manager and Manager & Editor, IEEE-USA E-books. “It’s a great way for engineers and other technical professionals to take a break, have a little fun and keep their minds stimulated.”
She points out that members who purchase this e-book can download and print either one or several puzzles at a time; or the entire book of 25, and all the answer keys at once.
IEEE-USA will soon publish an e-book of crossword puzzles designed for young people, ages 14-21. Mellor also developed the puzzles for the coming, Engineering Crossword Puzzles for Students.
In creating the crossword puzzles for IEEE’s U.S. members, Mellor first researched authoritative, engineering-related topics online. He says that one of his best resources was IEEE Spectrum. From biomedicine and robotics to semiconductors and telecommunications, he gathered thousands of words, their meanings and other associated facts, before coming up with the theme for each of the crossword puzzles in Engineering Crossword Puzzles for Adults.
“The theme,” he explains, is the unifying motif among many – if not most – of the words to be found.”
Each of the 25 puzzles has a different technological theme, although, given the constraints that word weavers like Mellor must work within, some words may be shared with other technologies. For example, the theme of the puzzle titled “Inertia” is interferometry, an investigative technique used in astronomy, fiber optics and oceanography, among other fields.
Myles Mellor has been confounding and delighting his fans for more than 16 years in the United States and abroad. Born in the United Kingdom, where his father was a crossword puzzle enthusiast, young Myles was introduced early to the mental challenge and satisfaction of puzzles. Years later, after he had moved to the United States, he started creating crossword puzzles to help cheer up his father following the death of his wife/Myles’s mother. Mellor credits his father for encouraging him to make a fulltime profession out of what formerly had been a hobby.
He says the puzzles he created for IEEE-USA members are a hybrid of English and American puzzle-writing styles. “In the United States, each word must connect to another,” he explains. “This is not the case with British puzzles. Also, Americans expect their crossword puzzles to be designed with words of no fewer than three letters and 180-degree rotational symmetry of the entire puzzle.
“To challenge and entertain IEEE’s U.S. members, these puzzles bend the rules a little,” he says.
Like many crossword puzzle writers, Mellor starts by picking the theme, then whether the puzzle will be 13 by 13 or 15 by 15 squares. Then, he selects appropriate words or phrases to be included, starting in the upper left-hand corner to write down theme words and phrases, as well as those that will cross them. He uses a software program to create the grid, but relies completely on his brain to add the words.
“Software is available to help create crossword puzzles, but I can think of entries that haven’t made it yet into electronic data bases,” he says. He admits, however, that he relies on his computer when building the list of clues.
“For any puzzle writer today, it’s crucial to create files, including a Word document of the clues, so the necessary sections can be saved and transmitted correctly,” he points out.
Since 2002, Mellor has had crosswords of all types published – as well as sudokus, word searches, anagrams and other syndicated and custom content. His 12,000 crossword puzzles have appeared in hundreds of newspapers and magazines, as well as on many web sites. Publications that carry his work include The Los Angeles Times, Discover Magazine, Entrepreneur and History Channel Magazine. At present, his daily interactive puzzle appears on more than 150 web sites.
Engineering Crossword Puzzles for Adults is available at https://ieeeusa.org/shop/fun/engineering-crossword-puzzles-adults/ for $2.99 for members and $4.99 for non-members.
Helen Horwitz is an award-winning freelance writer who lives in Albuquerque, N.M. She was with IEEE from 1991 through 2011, the first nine as Staff Director, IEEE Corporate Communications.