Updated: Oct 31, 2020
Many years ago, my first wife and I were Scrabble buffs. Played a lot of games and enjoyed every one of them. When she got sick and was bedridden, playing Scrabble became a bit of a challenge. The board would shift. The tiles would slide out of their proper squares. After a while, she became so discouraged that she just didn't want to play anymore. Sad, because one of the things she could enjoy during the period of her illness was that simple word game.
SO, i decided to see if I could come up with a substitute crossword spelling game that was not hampered by shifting Scrabble boards and sliding tiles. The idea dawned on me that it was the letters that were important. Not the tiles themselves. So, if we could transpose the letters from a separate source to the crossword grid, itself. like (maybe) erasing them at the source and re-writing them on the grid ... it could be like picking up a letter from one place and putting it down again in another. Like a Scrabble! Only better because if the crossword grid was printed on a paper sheet and the words were written with a pencil, it wouldn't matter if the sheet shifted dozens of times. Plus, the scores could be entered on a score sheet and be a permanent record of the game. Then, it occurred to me ... the letters didn't have to be erased. They could just be crossed off. Simple!
There were no computers in those days. I got busy with a twelve inch ruler and a pencil laying out how the whole thing could fit on a typewriter sheet of paper. It took a while to work out, but when it was done, I re-drew the design with a black ballpoint pen and went to a local Kinko's to make copies. At that time, to give it a name, I called my game "Alpha-Bank".
For the rest of her illness, we played many cheerful Alpha-Bank games. And the Scrabble box just gathered dust in the closet. After she passed, I re-named the game Spellwiz, had it copyrighted and began marketing it. Spellwiz was a full page feature in the weekly, Good Time Graphic and the monthly SMILES Humor Magazine.
Today, so many years later, Spellwiz is enjoying a resurrection as an educational resource in schools where it is used to stimulate spelling and vocabulary skills, at vacation resorts and cruise lines for quite relaxation plus the promotion programs for private single buyers and members of SPIN or Spellwiz Clubs.
Future blogs will cover SPIN (Spellwiz Players International Network) and Spellwiz Clubs.