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The History of Crossword Puzzles

From Mary Bellis,
Your Guide to Inventors.
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The first crossword puzzle was published on December 21 1913.

A crossword puzzle is a game of words where the player is given a hint and the number of letters. The player then fills in a grid of boxes by finding the right words. Liverpool journalist, Arthur Wynne invented the first crossword puzzle.

Arthur Wynne

Arthur Wynne who immigrated to the United States wrote the first crossword puzzle for an American newspaper called the New York World. It was published on Sunday, December 21, 1913.

Word-Cross to Cross-Word to Crossword

Arthur Wynne's crossword puzzle was initially called word-cross and was diamond shaped. The name later switched to cross-word and then crossword.

Wynne based his crossword puzzle on a similar but much older game played in ancient Pompeii translated from Latin to mean magic squares.

In 1924, Simon and Schuster published the first collection of crossword puzzles in book form.

Crossword Weaver

In 1997, Crossword Weaver was patented by Variety Games Inc. Crossword Weaver was the first computer software program that created crossword puzzles.

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