A Little Crossword
Crossword puzzles maybe a fun way to pass the time, but certainly they are more than that.
Arthur Wynne, was the British-born inventor of the modern crossword puzzle. He came up with the idea of a word puzzle involving clues and combination letters. The first crossword was called ‘Word-Cross’. The name was switched to ‘Cross-Word’ and then the hyphen was dropped.
The shape of the first Crossword was ‘Diamond’. After toying with different kinds of shapes, Wynne finally decided on the rectangle. He created the page of puzzles for the “Fun” section for the Sunday edition of The New York World. It was first published on 21st December,1913.
The newspapers stopped publishing Crossword for a little while because they had so many typos. But the public was so outraged that it was discontinued only for a week.
The first Crossword book was published in 1924 (eleven years after the first one appeared), by Dick Simon and Lincoln Schuster. It was a compilation of all the Crosswords submitted to The New York World at that time. It was only after the first compilation of Crossword puzzles were published, that it began appearing in the USA.
Some mystery authors have written books on Crosswords puzzles. They include Ruth Rendell, Parnell Hall and Nero Blanc- actually husband & wife team who have written a number of Crossword related mysteries. Although Arthur Conan Doyle wrote about clues and puzzles, but it was not the Crossword kind.
Eric Chalkley a Crossword puzzle creator was made ‘Member of the Order of the British Empire’ in 2003. Prince Charles bestowed this honor, for his extra ordinary service to the newspaper industry.
Roger F Squires holds the Guinness World Record as the most prolific Crossword puzzle creator. Starting in 1963, he compiled and published over 60,000 puzzles at an average of 28 puzzles per week. Truly remarkable.
During the WWII, Crossword puzzles were banned in Paris. There are 6 types of Crossword puzzles, longest word ever set was 58 letters long, largest published had 244,941 squares and interestingly Scrabble is based on the same principle as Crossword puzzle.
Anagrams play a big role in Cryptic Crosswords. Lycophron a Greek poet who lived in the 3rd century BC is generally being credited with being their originator. He wrote a poem on the siege of Troy where he included anagrams on the names of King Ptolemy and his queen. Other famous Greeks who were interested in anagrams were Plato, Pythagoras & Alexander the Great.
Cruciverbalist is another term for a Crossword puzzle fan. The origin of this word is unclear but seems to have first appeared in 1970s.
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