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The History of Crosswords

Despite so many available games on the internet because of technology, the game of Crosswords has remained popular with people all over the world and continue to challenge the minds of people who play the game. The game of crosswords was able to get worldwide attention and remains to be the best word game in the world.

History of Crosswords

The first crossword was played in England during the 19th Century, and it was created for the elementary level. It was derived from the word that means square. Words were arranged so that the letters can be read horizontally and vertically, and then it was printed as children’s books. It also served as a puzzle for books and newspapers. When it was introduced to the United States, it was introduced as a serious game for adults.

The very first published crossword came from Liverpool and was devised by Arthur Wynne, who is now being credited as the father or inventor of crossword puzzle games. The very first crossword appeared in December 21, 1913 and was published in a Sunday paper called the New York World. The first crossword did not have the same appearance as the crosswords that we know today. In fact, it was diamond shaped and had no internal black squares.

1920’s Crossword

After receiving much attention after the game was released, the newspapers have picked up on the game and discovered that it was an effective pastime for people and it would also increase the number of newspapers sold.

Since the 1920’s,  a lot of newspapers in the United States has formally added a crossword puzzle for every edition. During this time period, the crossword game that we know today was developed. After some time, the game was introduced by players in the Atlantic and it was able to experience a resurgence in Europe.

Crossword British Invasion (1922)

Britain was the one who released the first crossword in a magazine. In 1922 the game was published in Pearson’s Magazine. After this release, the British papers were quick to adapt new puzzles and schemes to include in the crossword style that was released in the U.S. The British started the cryptic type of crosswords and it immediately gained popularity afterwards. The cryptic crossword rules were developed by A.F. Ritchie and D.S. Macnutt.

What is a cryptic crossword?

A cryptic crossword is much more complex that the worded one. It will make use of geometrical patterns but can be twisted into word plays in order to engage the player into reflecting deeper into the game. The puzzle is not so easily solved, giving the player a sense of gratification once they are able to finish the puzzle.

The inventor of the crossword puzzle game, Sir Arthur Wynne, made the game even more interesting by devising different strategies for the weekly puzzle page. He has included an eight-page comic section in the newspaper and even devised a crossword game for Christmas in 1913, making the game even more popular. After he made an interesting game on December 21, 1913, he sealed the legendary crossword puzzle into the minds of people. Today the game still remains as one of the most interesting and challenging game there is.

During the first try, the game was called word-cross and then it slowly evolved into the term cross-word. After much experimentation, he finally decided to use a rectangle pattern.

February 1914: An open Invitation to submit Crosswords

In order to engage more people to play the game, in 1914 Sir Arthur Wynne encouraged readers to send in their own versions of crosswords. This has tripled the popularity of the game. There had been many players who submitted their crossword submissions. Due to the immense submission and typo errors, the newspaper had to stop putting in the crossword, but after one week of protest from the readers they had to reinstall the game.

The Crossword Craze All Around the World

The game was published mostly in the New York World, but when publishers like Lincoln Schuster and Dick Simon decided to publish a book that contained puzzles, including the crossword game, it sealed the fate of the crossword game. After its release, the book got massive attention all over the world and the game quickly became a craze.

The Introduction of different variations of Crossword Puzzles

Most of the crosswords that appear in North America will only feature solid areas of white squares, but crossword grids all over the world have their own design. Countries like Britain, India, Australia as well as South America would make use of a lattice-like structure where there is a higher percentage of shaded squares. Other crossword designs that come from a traditional context would make use of a 180-degree rotational or radial symmetry.  The Japanese also have their own design for the crossword grids; they have added additional rules, like adding the rule that shaded cells may not share a side, while the corner squares have to be white.

Cipher Crosswords

Other game variations have also been created like the Cipher crosswords. These games are also called code crackers, Kaidoku or code breakers. It is different from a cryptic password because there is a need to replace the clues for each of the entry that has been given for each of the white cells on the grid. An integer would then be printed on the side and will include 1 to 26 integers. The main goal of the game would be to determine the proper letters for each of the cells.  The 26 words would serve as a cipher, or clue, for those letters. The rule will also include that no two numbers should stand for the same letter, making it a puzzling, confusing and yet exciting game to play.

Diagramless crosswords

A number of people were inspired to create their own rules for the game. Another crossword version was produced in the UK called the diagramless crosswords or a skeleton crossword.
In this type of game, the players will have individual clues. The player would have to learn to build up the clumps of answers in order to reach larger clumps of answers. A variation of this game was released in the Daily Mail weekend magazine in the form of a blank-out puzzle.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting research you have done on the history crossword puzzles, Thomas. Thank you so much for sharing...