Press Release - Detail
For immediate release Friday, May 1, 2015
CONTACT: Angela Fisher Hall                                 
Interim Director                                      
Birmingham Public Library System                                        
Phone: (205) 226-3614                                          
Library Display Sure to Delight Crossword Puzzle Fans
Local artist and retired professor focuses on themed crossword brainteasers
Birmingham, Alabama—Attention crossword puzzle fans! A display of unique crossword puzzles is currently available for viewing at the Central Library of the Birmingham Public Library.  “Ever a Cross Word” can be viewed through May 29, 2015 in the First Floor Gallery. Created by Bob Shelton who has been a crossword puzzle aficionado for most of his adult life, the collection features some thirty panels comprised of (a) the most unique puzzles he has ever solved and (b) the best puzzles he has created.  Each panel is color coded and has been enlarged to a size of 16” x 20" for easy viewing. Shelton has targeted libraries as the most suitable venue for sharing his creations with the public.
The display also contains eight books of crosswords that Shelton created comprising what he terms “new theme” puzzles. They are new in that, unlike standard crossword “themes” with a handful of related material, most of these clues refer collectively to one focused theme. The display can be viewed during regular library hours.
“My interest in crossword puzzles began in junior high school,” Shelton stated.  “I would cut out the daily puzzle from the morning newspaper and take it to work on during study hall . . .  After many years, I discovered there were actual books full of these creatures, and to this day I solve crosswords constantly—in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, etc.” 
When asked what formula he uses to make up his puzzles, Shelton responded, “one day during a dreary faculty meeting, I began making a simple grid and trying out basic words that would cross-reference easily. I then began collecting sample empty puzzle grids of 15 x 15 squares. I found an article on the subject that had been reprinted in the National Crossword Aptitude test puzzle that encouraged the solver to complete it in fifteen minutes.  I completed the puzzle in eight minutes, and figured I was fairly adept. The cross-relationship of solving others’ material and making my own gradually took hold. I sent a few to The New York Times, but Mr. Shortz (Will Shortz is the crossword puzzle editor for The New York Times) felt my clues were too direct. I became more interested in the quality of the ANSWERS rather than the nature of the CLUES.
Shelton was a longtime Professor of Art at Birmingham-Southern College and retired in 2005. His biography lists several juried exhibitions and he has won many cash and purchase awards. Shelton’s work has been included in numerous New York City exhibitions and many corporations have commissioned pieces. He has written two textbooks—based on his development of film courses—which were published by Mellen Press of New York.
The mission of Birmingham Public Library is to provide the highest quality library service to our citizens for life-long learning, cultural enrichment, and enjoyment. This system—with nineteen locations and serving the community for 128 years—is one of the largest library systems in the southeast. For additional information about the programs and services of the Birmingham Public Library, visit our website at and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA:  Media coverage of this display at the Central Library is appreciated.  Attached are two photos which can be used for any printed pieces.  For additional information, or to schedule an interview with Bob Shelton, please contact Haruyo Miyagawa, BPL Gallery Manager, at her work number of (205) 226-3671 or Angela Fisher Hall, Interim Director, at (205) 213-7832.
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