The first crossword puzzle published in a newspaper appeared in the New York World one hundred years ago this week (on Saturday 21 December 1913, to be exact). It’s creator was a Liverpool-born, US-based journalist by the name of Arthur Wynne.
The centenary has inspired news stories around the world. Our favourite headline has to be NPR’s “100 Years of Solvitude: A Reported Crossword Puzzle“. NPR has included a copy of the original puzzle if you fancy taking a crack at it. In honour of the occassion, the Guardian has republished the first crossword to grace its pages in 1929.
Rebecca Rosen’s article in The Atlantic provides the best account of how Wynne’s noble puzzle became worldwide phenomenon a decade after its first debut. Rosen reflects on the emergence of crossword-as-morning-ritual in the 20th century, and considers how modern technology (puzzle software) has changed the craft of cross-word production and puzzle completion.