Did you know that on December 21st, 1913 the first modern crossword puzzle was published in the Sunday Supplement to New York World as just one of a set of "mental exercises"? Consisting of a diagram in the shape of gridded diamond, "Fun's Word Cross Puzzle" presented thirty-one questions which readers were invited to answer by filling in squares to form words that with shared letters. The inventor was Liverpudlian Arthur Wynne (June 22, 1871 - January 14, 1945) who, as a young adult, emigrated to the United States to work as a journalist for the Pittsburgh Press and the The New York World, where he spent his career. Wynn introduced horizontal and vertical lines to create boxes and pioneered the use of black squares, symmetrically arranged, to separate words in rows and columns.
The adult past-time became so popular that within a decade crossword puzzles were published regularly, if not daily in leading American newspapers. Great Britain followed suit with the Sunday Times of London running the most challenging one. A good way to improve vocabulary, the crossword puzzle became an educational tool in classrooms, as well as professions.
The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.
- Biemiller, R. (1962, Nov 18). World's Most Challenging Crossword. New York Herald Tribune (1926-1962)
- Willig, J. M.. (1963, Dec 15). 15 Letters: Most Popular Game: It's 'Crossword Puzzle.' A Form Of Almost Universal Entertainment Which This Samedi: Fr. Celebrates Its Quinquagenary. New York Times (1923-)
- 30 Million Americans Remain 'Loyal' Crossword Puzzle Fans. (1966, Jul 17). The Hartford Courant (1923-)
- Daniels, H. (1977, Jun 05). The Modern Almanac: Obscure Genius. Chicago Tribune (1963-1996)
- Kerins, A. (1978, Apr 02). Not-Too-Cross Words On Puzzle Books. Newsday (1940-)
- Walters, R. (1980, Jul 27). Paperback Talk: Paperback Talk. New York Times (1923-)
- Behrens, D. (1982, Apr 22). Expert Advice For X- Word Addicts. Newsday (1940-)
- Maleska, E.T. (1984, Nov 25). The Clue's the Thing: The Clue. New York Times (1923-)
- Crossword Puzzle Is 75 Years Old. (1988, Dec 22). The Irish Times (1921-)
- Leokum, A. (1994, May 25). How Crossword Puzzles Came To Be. The Sun (1837-)
- Hayes, Steven C et al. “Examining the Partially Completed Crossword Puzzle.” The Wiley Handbook of Contextual Behavioral Science. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2015. 1–6. e-book
- Speer, Robert K. and James Ralph McGaughy. Educational Crossword Puzzle Book. Yonkers-on-Hudson, N.Y: World book company, 1925. Closed Stacks Curr GV1507.C7 S6 1925
- Zamani, Payman, Somayek Biparva Haghighi and Majid Ravanbakhsh. “The Use of Crossword Puzzles as an Educational Tool.” Journal of Advances In Medical Education & Professionalism 9.2 (2021): 102–108.
- Cross Puzzle, Courtesy of Pixhere
- First Crossword, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
- Special News Slide, Courtesy of the Gottesman Libraries
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