All You Need to Know About Crossword Puzzles
Did you know that crossword puzzles date all the way back to 1913? There’s certainly something to be said about the lifespan of these world-famous brain teasers. They've certainly withstood the test of time, and there’s a reason for their hearty vitality. Before we explore the fascinating history of the crossword, we’ll first debrief you on what exactly is a crossword puzzle in case you’re new to the world of word games.
If you’re interested in the official route, according to the holy Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of a crossword is, “a puzzle in which words are filled into a pattern of numbered squares in answer to correspondingly numbered clues and in such a way that the words read across and down.”
What this means in everyday language is, a crossword is simply a puzzle, formatted on a grid within a square or rectangular form. There are both black and white squares on the page, which need to be filled in by a single-player with letters or words.
The goal is to fill in the white squares with letters moving horizontally or vertically, forming words or phrases which appropriately answer the provided clues. In short, it’s a word game that challenges both your vocabulary and over-all knowledge by using trivia questions that could span anywhere from world history to entertainment.
The Puzzling Path of the Crossword Over the Years
Crossword puzzles have a fascinating history dating back to the early 1900s, but where and how did it all begin? If you’re interested in the country of origin, the crossword was born in England, originally started as a children’s game. When the game made its way across the Atlantic to the United States, it developed into a past time for adults.
The game first appeared in the newspaper, the New York World, although you may not recognize the game now if you had a peek at its original form. The crossword first appeared in a diamond shape without any black spaces. Within only ten years or so, the diamond was quickly turned over on its side, appearing in almost every newspaper in the United States.
It was then ping-ponged back to Europe, included as perhaps the finest feature in the newspapers. Interestingly enough, The New York Times wasn’t keen on the idea of printing crossword puzzles in their publication. It was only after the tragedy of Pearl Harbor that they decided to begin printing crosswords as a necessary pastime for Americans during such a stressful time. They all agreed one couldn’t worry over the war while absorbed by the challenges of the crossword. The crossword pioneer Margaret Farrar said, “I don’t think I have to sell you on the increased demand for this type of pastime in an increasingly worried world. You can’t think of your troubles while solving a crossword …” The New York Times was the last major newspaper in the United States to include the crossword in their Sunday print, but by 1950, it severely grew in popularity and was then inaugurated into the daily print. It finally became the most prestigious crossword in the country, and by 2016 there was even a full-page crossword spread on a 50 by 50 grid! Though the New York Times has proven to be the most prestigious crossword puzzle in the United States, some of their most notable competitors are The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The American Values Club and Inkubator Crosswords.