Crossword Puzzle Day

Today we celebrate the birthday of the crossword puzzle, that criss-cross table of craziness and insanity that has distracted commuters and early risers at Sunday breakfast for decades. There are two stories to the birth of this puzzle: the first involves an Italian magazine in 1890. The Italian puzzle had a grid with no diagram i.e. no black squares, so it’s a puzzle, but not really a crossword.

The modern puzzle began on December 21, 1913. when Arthur Wynne, a journalist from Liverpool, Scotland, created a puzzle for the New York World called a 'word-cross'. This man, if still alive, would have been amazed at the tempo that is being generated by the crossword puzzle not only in New York but the whole world.
The names were reversed and a legend was born.

Almost every daily newspaper, including web editions, has some form of the crossword puzzle. Many, like Will Shortz’ acclaimed Times puzzles, become progressively harder each day of the week, so that by Saturday you just look at it and whimper like a small child about to get paddled. Crosswords are also a great way for students to stimulate vocabulary–by using common definitions or clues for complex words, students can build their word power and make new connections in their brain, allowing them greater cognitive function.

Not only does this type of puzzle appear in the pages of national dailies and magazines, it is also one of the most popular games on the internet presently. Even the computers are not left out as they are used in a frenzy to generate millions of cryptic crosswords over the years. It has even served as a promotional tool in the sales of items like dictionaries, newspapers, magazines, pencils, notepads, erasers and lots. There are even people who spend their time engaged in challenged crossword solving online. It is a game that has come to enjoy millions of devotees with the number increasing on daily basis.