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The Whirl of Words cover

  • eBook Edition
    • 978-1-03-910713-7
    • epub, mobi, pdf files
  • Paperback Edition
    • 978-1-03-910711-3
    • 7.0 x 10.0 inches
    • Black & White interior
    • 264 pages
  • Hardcover Edition
    • 978-1-03-910712-0
    • 7.0 x 10.0 inches
    • Black & White interior
    • 264 pages
  • Keywords
    • wordplay,
    • word puzzles,
    • number puzzles,
    • brain workout,
    • brief histories,
    • problem-solving,
    • English language

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The Whirl of Words
Puzzling Past and Present
by Jonathan Berkowitz

Why do word puzzles fascinate us? How do they help develop problem-solving skills? How do they teach us about geography, literature, sports, and popular culture? How are they an international language? Jonathan Berkowitz offers a brief history of wordplay, with insights into puzzles and the brain. He offers tips on how to solve puzzles and explains the educational value of puzzles. Challenges in the form of rebuses, anagrams, codes and cryptograms, crosswords, and wordplay with numbers supply even more fun! The Whirl of Words is a unique, rich, and intriguing tour of a wide variety of word puzzles certain to stimulate a brain work-out.

"The Whirl of Words is one of the most interesting books I've seen recently. It combines narrative on wordplay with many wide-ranging puzzles to solve. It's unusual, well-written, and witty. I recommend it!" --Will Shortz, Crossword editor, The New York Times, Puzzlemaster, NPR “This remarkable, accessible and engaging puzzle book happily pulls you into the world of codes, cryptography and crosswords with humour and good sense. Discover the names of four countries that have one-syllable English names! Define a Kangaroo word! It’s all here. “ —Ira Nadel, Author, and UBC English Professor Emeritus

Jonathan Berkowitz photo

Dr. Jonathan Berkowitz is the Word Guy on North by Northwest on CBC Radio One, where he shares his lifelong passion for words, word puzzles, and wordplay. He is also a prolific puzzle constructor and solver as a member of the National Puzzlers’ League. He has long been fascinated by the history of puzzles and how they are continually reinvented. He is an award-winning professor of statistics at The University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business and pioneered an executive education course on puzzle-solving for business decision-making. Puzzles and wordplay are part of all the public speaking he does, and a natural aspect of his everyday life. For more information, visit


Jonathan Berkowitz

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