A new way to look at time!
Until now, there were basically three ways to look at time. First came sundials that show time with the sun’s shadow. Then came analog clocks that show time with a little hand and a big hand. Digital clocks were later introduced to show time with numbers. Now, there’s a new way to look at time…the Crossword Clock that shows time with words that read both across and down like a crossword puzzle.
About the inventor
Bob Sandelman is one of those people who cannot resist puzzles. The Detroit native grew up playing Scrabble, Boggle, and Perquackey, and still loves the Jumble in the newspaper. He’s also a fan of escape rooms and intricate wooden puzzle boxes. Bob has always been fascinated by unique clocks and calendars and he’s built quite a collection of both.
In 2006, he took up origami. The Japanese art of folding paper requires focus and concentration—much like puzzles. Bob learned to create architectural models of the Chrysler Building, Sydney Opera House, Westminster Abbey, and other landmarks. During the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, he embarked on a project he named Cranes Conquering Covid. He spent 85 hours over 17 days folding 1,000 origami cranes so that, according to Japanese legend, his wish would come true. (A rapid end to the pandemic.)
By 1967, Bob had earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in business administration from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He then completed a course in computer programming while attending the Naval Supply Corps School. (Programming can be viewed as a puzzle because the challenge is to find the most efficient way to make a computer carry out tasks using logic and skill). He then served as a supply officer in the US Navy from 1968 to 1972.
During his career in marketing and advertising, he headed the Mattel Electronics account while at Ogilvy/Los Angeles and helped launch the Vectrex video game console while working for General Consumer Electronics. Bob’s marketing experience inspired him to invent products of his own. He created Metrix t-shirts when metrics were afoot, ReminDate to remind far-flung military personnel about important occasions, and suDAYku, a calendar version of Sudoku.
The first Crossword Calendar was ahead of its time
Bob created the original prototype for the Crossword Calendar in 1974. His first iteration was a silk-screened grid on acoustic cardboard. It was low-tech, using pushpins to surround the date. A later version, with the grid printed on plexiglass, was granted a U.S. patent on September 19, 1978.
With a patent under his belt, Bob decided to tackle another entry on his achievements “bucket list”: Mensa. After all, the organization’s website states: “The joy of solving puzzles is a common trait among many Mensa members.”
He passed the test in 1979 and continues to enjoy the timely articles and challenging puzzles in Mensa’s monthly magazines.
The next-generation calendar and a whole new clock
Bob founded Sandelman & Associates, Inc. in 1988 to provide chain restaurants with market intelligence about consumer attitudes and behavior. Still, he never stopped thinking about new products and product modifications. When he spotted an electronic word-based clock from an online retailer he knew it was time for a Crossword Calendar renaissance—and the launch of its companion: The Crossword Clock.
The time is NOW…
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