Will Shortz’s Wonderful World of Words
November 9 – 11, 2018
A wonderful weekend for all those who love language, puzzles, and games!
It’s a new “Words” weekend with another great line-up! The New York Times crossword editor and NPR Puzzlemaster Will Shortz is our host, along with composer and NPR quizzicist Greg Pliska, and some very special guests.
36 years ago “Words” weekend at Mohonk Mountain House was founded by the wonderful Gloria and Larry Rosenthal. In 2007, the torch was passed to Will Shortz, The New York Times crossword editor and NPR Puzzlemaster, who became our host and brings along a different set of special guest stars each year.
This program also features composer and NPR quizzicist Greg Pliska and his Mohonk Puzzle Treasure Hunt. Join the fun as we celebrate The Wonderful World of Words at Mohonk Mountain House!
Availability is limited. For reservations, please call .
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS: COMING SOON
Please check back for an updated schedule 3 months prior to the event.
Preview last year’s schedule:
2017 Word Challenge:
by Will Shortz
Besides the fact that the following nine words all contain the letter E, what highly unusual property do they share?
Submit your answer at the start of the Saturday morning program in the Parlor.
Packet of Puzzles
When you register at the front desk, pick up your packet of Will Shortz’s word puzzles and contests. Answers and entries are due back at the front desk by midnight on Saturday, November 11.
Why People Who Think They Hate Puns Are Wrong with Joe Berkowitz
For his book Away with Words, Joe Berkowitz traveled the country investigating the wild and hilarious world of live pun competitions — from the Punderdome 3000 in Brooklyn to the O.Henry Pun-Off World Championships in Austin, Texas. What makes a good pun? What makes a good punster? Joe has some o-punning thoughts on the subject.
Cookies and Punch in the Lake Lounge Followed by Scramble Scrabble
Gloria and Larry Rosenthal, the founders of the Words weekend, invented this game just for Words, where it is an exclusive, annual event. John Williams, former head of the National Scrabble Association, will help conduct it. Seven-member teams scramble to form words using giant tiles. The members of the team with the highest cumulative score after three rounds will each receive copies of the New York Times crossword books from St. Martin’s Press.
Fact and/or Fiction: Truth, Consequences, and the Business of Books with Andrew Blauner
Andrew Blauner, the founder and head of Blauner Books, is one of the leading independent literary agents in the United States. He’ll explain the modern world of book publishing and how he helps shepherd a book from concept to publication (and after).
Play Date with David Feldman
Gather in the Parlor to play new and classic boxed word games as a test of your wordsmanship, sense of fun, and brainy skills. Choose any game from those on display and pick a table to play at. The winner gets to keep the game. Then, if you like, choose another game and play some more. Compete with friends or family who accompany you … or make new friends. This year’s collection includes Codenames, The Chameleon, Bring your Own Book, and In or Out. Let the games begin!
Tea and Book Signing
Tea time in the Lake Lounge is year-round, but during Words weekend it’s also a book-signing session with the weekend’s authors.
Mohonk Puzzle Treasure Hunt
A team game by Greg Pliska. Come with a four-person team made of friends or family, or form a team when you arrive. Solve a set of interconnected puzzles and follow the clues hidden throughout the Mountain House. Prizes will be given to the first team to finish the hunt as well as one other successful team chosen at random.
Breaking the Comedy Mold with Elayne Boosler
In February, Rolling Stone magazine named Elayne Boosler one of the “50 Best Stand-Up Comics of all Time.” She’ll show us how, step by step, she prepares and presents a joke for maximum effect. With lots of examples. Prepare your laugh muscles!
Will Shortz leads the awards program as he reveals solutions to the packet puzzles, reads the wittiest entries in the creative competition, and names the winners of all the weekend games. Triumphant winners will choose prizes from a wide array of puzzle books from St. Martin’s Press, reference books from Merriam-Webster, and assorted word games. Leave room in your suitcase!
Availability is limited. For reservations, please call .
MEET OUR PROGRAM LEADER
The director of Words, is the crossword editor of The New York Times, puzzlemaster for NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” and founder/director of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Every weekday for the past year Will has had a new, original word teaser in the window of the Warby Parker store at New York’s Grand Central Terminal. (Try it if you walk by!) On October 3rd Will celebrated five years of playing table tennis every single day. (A Guinness record? No one knows.) Join him in Mohonk’s Game Room Saturday afternoon to help keep his streak going.
A composer and musician, Greg Pliska has been solving and creating puzzles since he could read. He is a puzzle writer and presenter for public radio’s “Ask Me Another,” and he creates puzzle hunts for corporate and academic clients. His composing work includes the Broadway play Sylvia and acclaimed productions for New York’s Shakespeare in the Park. His recent work includes music and sound for the off-Broadway hit The Government Inspector, as well as orchestrations for a new musical, Trevor that just finished an out-of-town run in Chicago. This is the 11th year Greg has created an original puzzle treasure hunt for Words.
David Feldman is the author of 13 books — 11 of them being collections of Imponderables, including the national bestsellers Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise?, When Do Fish Sleep?, and Do Penguins Have Knees? Lately he has been devoting much volunteer time to the Posse Foundation, which administers millions of dollars a year in full-tuition scholarships for low-income kids. He still attends the annual New York Toy Fair in February searching for the best commercial word games for this weekend.
Elayne Boosler is one of the funniest people in America. She was the first woman to have a one-hour comedy special on television, when Showtime aired “Party of One” in 1986. She has had six more cable specials since then. Elayne has appeared on numerous shows over four decades, including 32 times (to date) on Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect. In July she collaborated on a crossword puzzle for The New York Times — her first.
Andrew Blauner is the founder and head of Blauner Books, an independent literary agency. He has represented such authors as Yogi Berra, Ed Koch, Keith Olbermann, Arlene Alda, Anne Trubek (who spoke at last year’s Words weekend), and winners of Pulitzer Prizes, Hemingway Prizes, PEN awards, and much more. His own work has appeared in The New York Times and a wide array of other media outlets.
Joe Berkowitz is a writer and editor at Fast Company magazine. His work has been featured in The Awl, Salon, McSweeney’s, Rolling Stone, Cosmopolitan, and other publications. He is the co-author of You Blew It, with comedian Josh Gondelman, and the author of Away with Words: An Irreverent Tour Through the World of Pun Competitions. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and “an ideal tuxedo cat.”
When you visit during Will Shortz’s Wonderful World of Words, your overnight package includes:
- Three meals daily featuring fresh, locally sourced cuisine from our farm-to-table partners
- Access to more than 85 miles of the Hudson Valley’s best hiking trails
- Daily Guided “House History” Tours of our National Historic Landmark resort
- Guided Nature Hikes with stunning views of the Catskill Mountains
- Yoga, Meditation, and Fitness Classes
- Indoor Heated Pool with underwater music
- Afternoon tea and cookies in our historic Lake Lounge
- Complimentary greens fees Monday–Friday on our Scottish-inspired golf course
- Nightly Evening Entertainment
- Special Events such as Outdoor Summer Movie Series and more! See schedule of activities >
A la carte experiences available to overnight guests:
- A full menu of nature-inspired treatments at our award-winning spa
- The Carriage Lounge, featuring a full bar and handcrafted cocktails as well as hyperlocal draft beer and hard cider
- An award-winning wine list in our Main Dining Room
- Horseback riding, carriage rides, and pony rides