Crossword Puzzles Celebrate 100th Anniversary

Friday, 20 Dec 2013 02:12 PM

By Ken Mandel

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The crossword puzzle, which serves as both mental stimulation and a giant time killer, turns 100 on Saturday.

The first "word cross" puzzle appeared in the "Fun" section of New York World on Dec. 21, 1913, and was credited to a "cruciverbalist" (crossword puzzle author) named Arthur Wynne, according to Publisher's Weekly. It was diamond shaped and offered clues like "What this puzzle is" and "A river in Russia."

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"There's a certain amount of satisfaction when you complete the puzzle," 92-year-old Al Bogart of Wayne, N.J., told North Jersey.com. "It's hard to explain to somebody. You had a goal, you accomplished it."

Wynne's creation spread to other papers, and quickly became a staple of American culture.

"In the beginning, I guess it was just something that caught people's attention, like Sudoku did in recent years," R. Wayne Schmittberger, editor-in-chief of Games magazine, told North Jersey.com.

Today, crossword puzzles have their own subculture beyond the casual way to pass time on a flight. Enthusiasts compete in the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, vying for prizes.

Google has also found a way to celebrate with a "doodle" on its search page. Users can click on the image and solve the puzzle.

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