Jonathan Berkowitz

i. I do creative work because I love sharing my passion for patterns in words and numbers.

ii. I am The Word Guy on CBC Radio 1’s North by Northwest, where I talk about our fascinating English language. As an active member of the National Puzzlers’ League, I create all kinds of word puzzles, including challenging cryptic crosswords. I compose full-length musical parodies by writing new lyrics to established songs to tell a story. In production are a book on wordplay through the ages, and a podcast aimed at answering seemingly small questions in life that turn out to have large implications in today’s society.

iii. I was blessed with an acute visual memory and quick recall, so I can search my mental database for puzzles, trivia, puns, and jokes suitable for every occasion and every audience.

iv. My parents gave me puzzle books when I was a child; I never outgrew them. My mother showed me the joy of assembling jigsaw puzzles. My father taught me to play Scrabble as soon as I could read. My bookshelves were filled with Dr. Seuss, the Guinness Book of World Records, dictionaries, encyclopedias, almanacs, brainteaser and puzzle collections. My library is still filled that way! Oh yes, and they paid for many years of piano lessons; I still play.



v. Professionally I am a statistician. I am a UBC professor and have a consulting practice. My tag line? I do numbers for a vocation and words for an avocation.

vi. Whether speaking to a seniors’ organization or presenting in school classrooms from primary grades to postgraduate university degree programs, my goal is to generate excitement and joy. I suppose what I create best are smiles and aha moments, through a combination of education and entertainment.

vii. I hope my creation receives a positive reaction. Did you notice that if you move the “c” in “creation” to the fourth position of the word, you spell “reaction”? Did that generate a smile and an aha moment?

Berkowitz As CBC Word Guy


Header Photo: Chris King

Photo 2: Zhen Hu



Pucci to Gucci


Streamers @ MOV

Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton