“I have always had a fascination with words and their origins,” he said. Allen’s crossword puzzles are different from the typical puzzles.
“The unique thing about my crossword puzzles is that (the word placement) not only across and down, it’s diagonal,” Allen said. “I have diagonal clues that go up and down. That makes my puzzles really unique.”
Allen, who has created nearly 8,000 crossword puzzles, grew up watching his two brothers work crossword puzzles. Originally from upstate New York, he moved to Georgia 12 years ago because his wife moved here for business.
“I watched them sit in front of the TV when they were first invented and do crossword puzzles,” Allen said.
Allen had a heart attack years ago and started doing crossword puzzles that friends brought to him while he recuperated. Because of health problems, doctors advised Allen that he could not return to work at Normandy Broadcasting Company in Glens Falls, N.Y., where he worked at WWSC AM/Y96 FM and he retired.
With time on his hands, Allen began working crossword puzzles. “I got through and said, ‘These (puzzles) are boring. If I can’t do better than this, I’ll quit,” he said.
Allen solved the problem by drafting his own puzzles. “I can connect practically anything,” said Allen, who owns 10 dictionaries and encyclopedias.
He placed copies of a crossword puzzle that he titled “Great I Am” (seven references to Jesus) in Covenant Presbyterian Church in Marietta where he and his wife attend. “People were picking them up,” Allen said.
The pastor, amazed by the puzzle, asked who created it. The church co-sponsored a book of puzzles that Allen published. His puzzles are now offered worldwide online.
“Every time I show these puzzles to people they’re amazed,” Allen said. To learn more, visit www.crisscrosswordpuzzles.com.