An ounce of history

Ukraine has needed its crosswords. Just the time for the question. The world is changed a bit since the novels of Balzac, Flaubert, and stories by Mykhailo Kotsubynskyi. All is minimized, is done on the move, in passing. Ukraine, in my opinion, needed to prove itself in this area of human activity somehow. There are Roman, German, American crosswords. There are scanwords (Scandinavian crosswords). Little Estonia has its Estonian crosswords too. Thus ...

Everything originated in a dictionary. The dictionary was in need to enrich the mother tongue with neologisms of poetic art. Without the dictionary but employing previously acquired knowledge to me - and quite by accident - in mind there were three I think good poetry form[1]. Here they are.


I thought: "And if you take a dictionary? If you take a dictionary and find there all words in the language that create something with several words harmoniously joined in a circle? "I felt that this is something I needed.

Therefore it all originated in dictionary retrieval. Of course, I needed a dictionary in electronic format for electronically easier to rearrange words in places. Moreover, in large quantity! A dictionary printed on paper stores words securely. However, it is faster and easier to work with words with the help of a computer.

When I found the dictionary, I set about to select and arrange different parts of speech in a convenient way. But, in fact, there was not split into separate parts of speech in my collating. In fact, there was a list of words that I had grouped by the number of letters in the word. There were two columns of words that were alongside, and it gave you a chance to read the same word twice in a chain without a space as if this is one word. There were many ideas about how else it is possible to arrange words with each other to form something meaningfull. There were many thoughts. Thus sorting out columns of nouns, adjectives, etc., I came to that I started to dream them. I started to sort out some words in reality snatching them from texts that I had read. I twisted them, read the back-forward, connected the end of a word with the beginning. I wanted to find all words in the language that produce some sense if to make them round. I began to make round not only words but whole phrases. I started to make round surnames of authors of rounded phrases and, bolt from the blue, insert them into their sayings that I had before made round. Thus “kolovorots” (eddies) were born!

The first one was "The world was catching me but failed" by Hryhoriy Savovych Skovoroda. I thought why not combine the letters of the phrase with the letters of the author’s name. Then choose the words that would end on the letter that is in the author's name but began from the letter of the expression. In this way, then removing the letters of the name but inserting empty cells instead of them it could be, with a bit of arrange, created an original crossword puzzle after solving entries of which the author's name could be read off within a small circle of the expression, beginning from the position that corresponds to figure 1.

1.      Різкий коливальний рух; поштовх.

2.      На західній Україні так називають кажана.

3.      Виготовлений з легкого матеріалу предмет (звичайно у вигляді півкола), яким навівають прохолоду в обличчя під час спеки.

4.      Підстава, привід для якої-небудь дії, вчинку; причина.

5.      Як звичайно виявляють любов і ласку в стосунках з ким-небудь.

6.      Вага; велика вага; важкий вантаж, важка ноша.

7.      З охотою, з великим бажанням, задоволенням.

8.      Лицьовий бік когось, чогось.

9.      Густий дрібний дощ, краплини якого немов перебувають у завислому стані; те саме, що імла; туман.


In fact, the first ukrwords were only kolovorots. And they were drawn by a pencil and ruler. Gudzyks (buttons) and snizhynkas (snowflakes) have emerged later on in electronic view.

Of course I thought about the phrase "Everything new - it is well forgotten old!" To some extent indeed! But Ukraine, in my opinion, needed their ukrwords. So I began to stamp them in dozens. I felt the joy of creativity! The feeling that I had long forgotten since the days of the University Library! I stopped only when I had noticed that there were exactly 100 of them and there were no end. And here I stopped and applied myself, so to speak, to the qualitative design of the kolovorots being satisfied with the quantity. The process continues!



[1] This kind of poetic form is known in world literature yet (if I am not mistaken beginning from Guillaume Apollinaire).  Here is “divochi div ochi” (lit., virgin maidens’ eyes); “dyvo vody” (miracle of water); “tysha shaty” (attire that is done of silence), respectively.