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Inspirational Kiwi Invents a Game of Very Cross Words

Media Release

14 August 2013

Inspirational Kiwi Invents a Game of Very Cross Words

Fluidity, fun and fast play is the game motto for an entrepreneurial Kiwi woman whose passion for English has led to the invention of a unique new word game.

Squabbles inventor Julia Banks, (69) of Howick, Auckland, says she was inspired to create her “game of very cross words” in a bid to find a word game that rewarded clever play, moved constantly, included team work and wasn’t restricted by a board.

Squabbles requires players to work independently to create inter-locking words in a crossword fashion. Players can rearrange the position of their tiles as often as they need to complete their grid in order to grab more tiles. However, if a player picks up a ‘Bad Boy’ card the rules alter and the game changes direction.

“I used to enjoy playing Scrabble but my husband and I started to find it a bit tedious, unsatisfying and too restrictive,” says Banks. “I came up with a concept where players don’t have to wait for their turn, but all constantly work on their own word grid, being brought back together as a team through ‘Bad Boy’ cards. These little devils throw the game in different directions, adding “shock value and a huge amount of fun.”

“Unlike Scrabble, players can win with a lot of short, simple words as the game is all about grabbing and completing as quickly and cunningly as possible. This means even the youngest members of a family can still have a chance of winning!”

Squabbles was selected from hundreds of game concepts submitted to New Zealand puzzle and toy company Thos Holdsworth & Sons each year by hopeful game inventors. Thos Holdsworth & Sons says the game will be popular for its originality, simplicity and its amusing ‘buggeration’ factor that keeps the game moving at speed.

“Julia’s concept just stood out from the crowd,” says Fleur Tisdale, Thos Holdsworth & Sons Marketing and Sales Director. “She has put a lot of thought into her concept; she’s taken a traditional idea and turned it into an energetic game which can be explained in less than five minutes.”

Marketing under the brand name, Holdson, the company has big plans for the new game, including its release into international toy markets next year.

Proving that age is no barrier to leading a full life, when Julia isn’t inventing board games, she sings with The City of Auckland Singers, is an avid traveller and teaches English at ICENZ. In the past she has also authored successful pantomimes published by Samuel French Ltd, London.

“Julia is a true inspiration,” adds Fleur. “To become a game inventor at 69 just shows that no matter what age you are there really is no stopping creativity or an entrepreneurial idea from becoming a reality.”

Squabbles is now available at leading toy stores nationwide with an RRP of $49.99.


About Thos Holdsworth & Sons Ltd
Thos Holdsworth & Sons started & remains a family business based in Avondale, Auckland. Since openings its doors is 1939, Thos Holdsworth & Sons has grown and evolved into one of New Zealand’s leading importers and distributors of some of the world’s leading products for the jigsaw puzzle, board game and toy industries.
With more than 70 years’ experience making top quality traditional puzzles and importing toys, Holdsworth & Sons are proud to be the only puzzle producer in New Zealand.
For further information on this new product and other offerings from Holdson, visit

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