& a standing date to do it together on Sunday night.
A one year sub is about $40 or you can try it out a month at a time for $7. No shipping! If one of you is terrible at XWs the Monday puzzle is up by 7:00 p.m. EST Sunday night. If one of you is great (& patient) The Sunday puzzle is still up at 7:00 p.m. as "Yesterday". You can call your Dad up on the phone & speak while you work on the XW or there is an Instant Message (IM) panel on the right hand side of the page which you can use to "chat". Remember to log off with GG (Good Game) at the end of each match.
If you want to try something a little different, there is a Challenge option. This pops up older puzzles & allows you to play against each other (or collaborate if you don't want to compete.) There is also a WordPlay Blog which is fun to read.
CAVEAT: The site can be wonky. Also, it can be confusing to get in to the Play with a Friend site the first few times you try it. It is NOT intuitive. You feel like you should click on the TODAY'S PUZZLE text when what you really need to do is to click the PLAY box in the Solve with a Friend Section.
We both know you know you won't make the Sunday date every week, but if you put it on the calendar there is a better chance you'll make it or at least reschedule. I don't speak to my parents every week. I know some speak everyday(!) and most try to speak them every week which is noble. I'm not making judgements or casting aspersions, I just think as we & our parents get older we should make it a point to reach out to them more often.
You should be sure to introduce your Dad to the amazing Rex Parker blog. He does the puzzle & explains the rationale of the overall theme & individual clues, he's really witty! The comments are very creative, illuminating & downright hilarious at times.
Also, taking your Dad to lunch, dinner or drinks is a nice thought. Just the two of you, his favorite spot. Or maybe a lecture? My Dad took me to hear Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. speak at the Midland Center for the Arts when I was a High School student. We discussed policy all the way to the lecture & all the way home and I think for many days after. What a great gift & it wasn't even my birthday!
Hope this post gets the creative juices flowing & you come up with something really terrific for your Dad!
*or I suppose you could do it in paper & talk on the phone while you do it!