Crossword still remains the “King of Puzzles” after 100 years

by Carol Lee
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What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘online crossword’? An interesting crossword puzzle word game online where you read the clues and fill the across and down a grid of black and white squares. Right? That’s absolutely true. But do you have any idea, where it all began?


Arthur Wynne created the first-ever crossword puzzle that was published in the newspaper on 22nd December 1913 in ‘The New York World’.

Here are a few interesting things that the first puzzle had:

  •    It had a diamond shape
  •    32-word puzzle
  •    There were no black squares
  •    Had numbers with the squares

Since its inception, crossword has managed to become the standard feature of the newspaper across different countries. Wynne’s editors were not that much interested in puzzles but they were published for nearly eight years.

After a few years, Dick Simson and Max Schuster came with the first crossword book that had the best of crosswords created by Arthur. At that time, the book sold 4000,000 copies within months and both Simon and Schuster managed to make a brand name as a good publishing house.

Merl Reagle, a renowned and successful crossword constructor whose work is syndicated across 50 newspapers published his book on 100 years crossword anniversary i.e. on 22nd December in 2013.

According to the well-known The New York Times crossword constructor, Will Shortz, the major reason for solving daily crossword puzzle is the amount of excitement that it brings in. The best part is, it is not only about entertainment but also good for your mind.

Researches have proved that people who have a habit of solving at least one crossword every day or indulge themselves in other mentally challenging tasks don’t suffer diseases like Alzheimer.  

A century and beyond…

Now, it has been more than a century, crossword still remains a beloved form of entertainment, although the world has shifted to the web. Online crossword brings another level of fun and convenience to play the game anytime, anywhere.

Shortz says today, there are more than 50,000 subscribers of the online crossword puzzle. These stats tell how much people still love crossword puzzle games. Besides being the best crossword constructors in the biz, Reagle was one of the fastest puzzle solvers of his time.

In 1979, he managed to grab the third position in the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Reagles feels, it takes a longer time to solve a puzzle someone else has constructed. But this has helped him better appreciate the good puzzles.

Speedsolving crossword

Tyler Hinman, a five-time champion of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament does not agree with the speed-solving case. He says, ‘If I’m moving ahead and going hard on it, I can complete it within five minutes’.

According to him, anyone who wishes to solve a puzzle quickly, a lot of practice is the only key. Those in the field of maths or science or music are very good at solving crosswords. They are always eager to look for encoded information and try translating it into that is meaningful.

The explanation holds true for Day Feyer. He was the reigning champion of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, who is also an accomplished pianist.

Hinman is also an occasional contributor to The New York Times crossword section. He suggested one should solve the crossword by filling easy words first because it serves as a key to unlock tougher and longer answers.    

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