Posted on December 21, 2021 at 2:00 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

On this day in 1913, a crossword puzzle — or, as it was titled then, the “word-cross puzzle” — first appeared in newsprint.

The New York Public Library says that its creator, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra violinist Arthur Wynne, took his inspiration for the game from an ancient Pompeiian word game.

In that version, itself a riff on an even older game, players tried to fit words into a grid that could be read across and down.

Wynne’s historic puzzle ran in the New York World, and other papers gradually followed suit, though the NYPL notes that the New York Times resisted until World War II broke out.

See the December 21, 1913, “word-cross puzzle” and read more about the game’s evolution on the NYPL’s blog.

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Categories: Today in Books

Tagged As: History, Just for fun

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