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The History of Crossword Puzzles

Arthur Wynne

Arthur Wynne

The first crossword puzzle was published on December 21, 1913 by journalist Arthur Wynne. In it’s
earliest form, the crossword was set out in a diamond shape and lacked any of the black squares we are
accustomed to with today’s versions of the popular word puzzle.
First published in a Sunday newspaper, the concept was widely and positively welcomed by all. During
the 1920’s, other newspapers sniffed out the success of crosswords and in the small time frame of a
decade, crossword puzzles made their way into almost all American newspapers. This is when the
familiar, modern crossword form started to establish itself.

Read Also: A Brief History About Crossword Puzzles

After another ten years of existence and circulation in the States, the crossword re-established itself in
Europe and took the continent by storm.
February, 1922 marked the first appearance of a crossword in British published Pearson’s Magazine.
Having well and truly made it’s name among newspapers and magazines alike, the Times published it’s
first crossword puzzle on February 1, 1930.
It was widely known that British crossword puzzles were markedly more difficult than those of American
creation. When the first versions of Cryptic crosswords were created, they gained popularity very
quickly. These new, much more difficult styles of crossword puzzles even gained their own governing
rules which were set out by A. F. Ritchie and D. S. Macnutt.

Such were the minds of these two that they were able to see words jumbled together in geometric
shapes. Not only that but their gift also allowed them to twist and mould words into wordplays and
witticisms that would have the human mind working like it never had before.
From then on out, the standard of quality for crossword puzzles was laid out. These gifted people were
able to develop personal styles of crossword puzzles that had word puzzle fans captivated. Since then,
millions of puzzles have been constructed by hand and many more are still to come.