Crosswords – My Wonderful Addiction

September 6, 2007

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Time for me to lighten up a little and talk about some fun things.

The crossword puzzle – I just can’t stop doing them.  Everyday they are published in newspapers and even on-line now.  Temptation is everywhere it seems.

I started thinking who invented the crossword puzzle so after some quick research here are some facts:

– The first crossword was published on December 21, 1913 in the New York World newspaper. They became a regular feature of the paper.

– Arthur Wynne, a Liverpool journalist, was the inventor.

– At first it was called a “word-cross” puzzle. Later the name was changed.

– The first book of crosswords was published in 1924 by Simon & Shuster. 

– Crosswords became the craze of 1924.

– The word “crossword” was first in a dictionary in 1930.

– New York Times crosswords are the most prestigious and known to be the most difficult to solve.  Take it from me they are very tough.

– In Britain the Sunday Express newspaper was first to publish a crossword November 2, 1924.

– During World War II British Intelligence recruited several crossword experts to work on code-breaking.

In 1944, prior to D-Day, the Allies were stunned by the appearance of crosswords in The Daily Express Telegraph that were using top secret code names related to the “hush-hush” planned Normandy landings. “Overlord” in particular was of great concern because it was the code name for the entire operation and known to only a few people.  The author of the puzzles was arrested and interrogated.  After an extensive investigation it was found that the use of these words was only coincidence.  Believe it or not I guess!

I remember as a child in elementary school racing to get the morning paper before my Dad so I could attack the crossword.  It is one of my favorite memories of him.  He too was a compulsive crossworder.

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