First Crossword Puzzle Created in the U.S.

First Crossword Puzzle Created in the U.S.

Arthur Wynne invented the crossword puzzle, which was first published in 1913.

Just in time for Christmas, the New York World published a fun surprise for its readers in 1913. It was a grid of white and black boxes paired with a series of clues and it quickly became a popular part of the Sunday entertainment section.

You guessed it! On December 21st, 1913, the first crossword puzzle was published.

Crosswords were invented by Arthur Wynne when tasked by his editor with creating a new game for the paper. Wynne based the game of Magic Squares, a game popular in ancient Pompeii where the player was given words and had to place them on a grid so they could read the same way down and across.

Although Wynne’s invention was based on earlier puzzle forms, such as the word diamond, he introduced a number of innovations (e.g. the use of horizontal and vertical lines to create boxes for solvers to enter letters). He subsequently pioneered the use of black squares in a symmetrical arrangement to separate words in rows and columns. With the exception of the numbering scheme, the form of Wynne’s “Word-Cross” puzzles is that used for modern crosswords.

The crossword was first known as a word-cross. The wording was switched, then the hyphen was dropped thanks to a typo. Today, we all get to enjoy the fruits of Wynne’s labors as crossword puzzles have only grown in popularity in the last century!

If you’re looking for an interesting radio program to tune into while you do your crossword puzzle, don’t miss the latest from  The Maria Sanchez ShowShadow Politics with Senator Michael D. Brown.  We broadcast every Sunday, 4pm PST/7pm EST and on demand.  Please join us and join in the conversation.

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