A Woodstock fan of puns, puzzles and word games is having his creativity and cartoon image used in the syndicated Jumble scrambled word puzzle on Tuesday.
Paul Lockwood, an occasional theatre reviewer for the Northwest Herald and a co-winner in a McHenry County Senior Spelling Bee earlier this year, has been unscrambling words in the Jumble for more than 50 years. When he heard in early 2015 about a special event in downtown Chicago focusing on the Jumble that would spotlight its history and have interactive Jumble games and competitions, he decided to put his unscrambling skills to the test and have some fun at the same time. At the event, his speed at solving Jumble puzzles became obvious to puzzle creator David L. Hoyt and cartoonist Jeff Knurek, culminating in Lockwood’s receipt of a 3-D printer-created trophy as the “Fastest Jumbler.”
Lockwood had such fun in 2015 that he attended the next two symposiums Hoyt and Knurek hosted in 2017 and this past spring. He again was deemed the “Fastest Jumbler” at both events, and his brother, Jerry, was on hand for the 2018 competition.
Over the summer, as an additional prize beyond the three trophies he’s received, Lockwood was given the opportunity to suggest a punny solution for an upcoming Jumble puzzle. Hoyt loved the idea and fine-tuned the setting of the accompanying cartoon and the caption that would lead to the solution. The final result, appearing in more than 600 newspapers in the U.S. and internationally as well as at Jumble.com, is the Tuesday puzzle, which will feature not only Lockwood’s solution, but also a cartoon drawing of Lockwood and his brother in a diner, a waitress calling Lockwood by his first name.
“This is very cool,” Lockwood says. “I never dreamed that decades of solving the Jumble would lead to something like this.”
When contacted about Lockwood’s special honor and his past success, Hoyt said, “In all my years of being associated with Jumble, I’ve never seen anyone as good at unscrambling words as Paul. For him to win three times in a row is just incredible. He certainly deserves the title of ‘Jumble Champion.’”
What’s next for Lockwood and the Jumble?
“I’m looking forward to finding some way to further challenge myself,” Lockwood said. “Maybe at another symposium against new puzzle fans or in some other way; we’ll see.”