If you don't do crossword puzzles, you might be missing out on some fun word play or even some health benefits.
Today's topic is crosswords. Perhaps you are one of the millions of addicts who snatch the crossword section of the newspaper before anyone else in the household can do so, or maybe you do your daily puzzle online or in a book. Good for you! If you don't do crossword puzzles, you might be missing out on some fun word play or even some health benefits.
Origin of Crosswords
Here at Grammar Girl, we hope you won't be cross with us. It seems we missed the centennial of the crossword puzzle's invention. We're celebrating this fun pastime about eighteen months too late. The first known published crossword appeared in a Sunday newspaper called the New York World on December 21, 1913. (1) Pop on over to the American Crossword Tournament website and see the actual puzzle itself. This first puzzle, created by a British journalist named Arthur Wynne, appears to be a lot easier than modern Sunday crosswords, but the clues do go up and down, as they do now. About ten years after Wynne's first puzzle, crosswords became popular in Europe. And now you can find them everywhere, and in various languages. Just type “foreign language crossword puzzles” into Google, and you'll get more than 800,000 hits.
British and American Crossword Puzzles
This episode focuses on American crosswords, but we'll mention British puzzles for just a minute. It seems that the British are known for very difficult cryptic puzzles, and a quick look at the Guardian's cryptic crossword website proves it. It would be tough for most Americans to get the answers.