Wednesday, February 22, 2017
The Development of the Popular Crossword Puzzle
Patrick Stoup graduated with a BA in psychology/sociology from Slippery Rock State College in 1972. He has been the CEO of SAI in Gaithersburg, Maryland, since 2014. In his spare time, Patrick Stoup enjoys solving the Washington Post’s Sunday crossword puzzles.
Considered by many the most popular word game in the world, crossword puzzles are a relatively recent invention. They first appeared in 19th-century English children's books in the form of square groupings of words that could be read both horizontally or vertically. They didn't become popular with adults until introduced to the United States.
The first-known crossword puzzle appeared in a Sunday edition of the New York World in December of 1913. Created by an English journalist, Arthur Wynne, the puzzle was shaped like a diamond, with no black spaces in the interior. By the early 1920s, other newspapers were producing their own puzzles. Within a decade, almost all newspapers offered them.
The February edition of Pearson's Magazine in 1922 was the first British publication to have a crossword puzzle. British crosswords quickly developed a reputation for being more difficult than American versions, with some even calling them cryptic.