Oak Bay’s Bob Carter revamped the crossword puzzle. The “wordcross” puzzle takes a more artistic approach to the traditional crossword and covers only one subject.
“It’s not just words put together,” Carter said. “If you put chrysanthemum down, you put down another flower.”
Carter created wordcrosses on species of animals, fish, flowers, and trees. He started out by simply working the flowers he knew into a piece, then went on to add more. “You come across others you didn’t know about and include them. The sheet gets bigger.”
Carter’s puzzles are drawn on squared quarter-inch paper, outlined and coloured by hand. A recent wordcross includes the names of the Oak Bay volunteers, who escort and care for seniors in the community. He is creating his second sheet of common nicknames and plans to continue with more subjects. Carter said it’s “enlightening when you put down the names on paper.” People often do not realize how much they know until they brainstorm – which is in large part what wordcrosses require.
“It’s become an obsession, some people say,” Carter said. “But it focuses your mind. For people who are housebound, it can be a great hobby.”
Carter began the project after a semi-serious stay in hospital. Art has been an interest of his for many years – his intricate Egyptian works appearing in the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) where he has volunteered for over two decades, as well as within his own home.
Word crosses combine his artistic side and mental faculties. “It was a way to get my mind off things (in the hospital),” Carter said.