12/21/2013

The Crossword Puzzle


My favorite stress buster, next to writing and reading, turns 100 years old today!
That's how long the crossword puzzle has been delighting enthusiasts all over the world.

Today, cruciverbalists (that's how some people call word-game fans) celebrate the creation of this delightful pass time. Credit goes to Arthur Wynne, an onion farmer from Liverpool, England, who left his hometown for a journalism job in The New York World, USA.

As editor of that paper, on 12 December 1013, he filled an empty space of the issue with what he called a word cross, more popularly known as crosswords.

It didn't catch on right away, however. It was only after 11 years, when the publishing house of Simon and Schuster put puzzles into a book, that the crosswords began to make people sit up and do them with gusto.

Since then, the square puzzler has made “addicts” out of people.

According to some critics, the idea of crosswords dates back to as far as Pompeii's time and was not really started by Wynne. But as a tribute to the man who institutionalized it, I join the rest of crossword fanatics in honoring him today.

I don't know how my compatriots would call crosswords, but I call them my own daily square grace in black and white. 

Photo credit: Karen Bleier/AFP

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