By Alan Connor
A journalist and observe aficionado salutes the 100-year heritage and pleasures of crossword puzzles
Since its debut in The long island World on December 21, 1913, the crossword puzzle has loved a wealthy and unusually vigorous lifestyles. Alan Connor, a comic book author recognized for his exploration of all issues crossword in The Guardian, covers each twist and switch: from the Twenties, while crosswords have been thought of a risk to efficient society; to international struggle II, once they have been used to recruit code breakers; to their starring position in a 2008 episode of The Simpsons.
He additionally profiles the colourful characters who make up the attention-grabbing and peculiar way of life of crossword constructors and aggressive solvers, together with Will Shortz, the long-lasting New York Times puzzle editor who created a artful crossword that looked as if it would are expecting the result of a presidential election, and the legions of aggressive puzzle solvers who descend on a Connecticut resort every year in an try to be topped the yank puzzle-solving champion.
At a time whilst the published notice is in decline, Connor marvels on the crossword’s seamless transition onto Kindles and iPads, conserving the puzzle one in every of America’s favourite interests. He additionally explores the best way the human mind approaches crosswords as opposed to pcs which are mostly stumped through clues that require wordplay or an easy grab of humor.
A interesting exam of our so much cherished linguistic amusement—and choked with tantalizing crosswords and clues embedded within the text—The Crossword Century is certain to allure the eye of the readers who made Word Freak and Just My Type bestsellers.
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Additional info for The Crossword Century: 100 Years of Witty Wordplay, Ingenious Puzzles, and Linguistic Mischief
Not more company palms writing PAGLIACCI, no poppet-valves appearing as Valentines. Aunts lick their pencils in useless frustration, and in “Sticky Wicket at Blandings” Gally Threepwood lighting a cigar and appears on the instances yet reveals that “these crossword puzzles had develop into so abstruse these days and he was once essentially a Sun-god-Ra and Large-Australian-bird-emu guy. ” For some time, a butler may be relied upon to shimmy into view and resolve the tougher clues, yet in 1957’s anything Fishy, the clues are left unanswered. From an writer whose inventory in alternate is the relaxation of tensions and fixing of mysteries, the impression is eerie—and the event, as if you can’t end a real-world crossword, strangely problematical. (Not all of crosswords’ extra remarkable devotees are rather so critical . . . ) A sign in OF PEOPLE—OR THE check in OF the folk? A-LIST a number of the extra recognized one of the puzzle’s devotees Any record of outstanding solvers is via definition partial and much from neutral. have been I, even though, to collect an All-Star Crossword group of solvers earlier and current, i might pick out: Frank Sinatra, who wrote a fan letter to the recent York occasions puzzle editor giving his fixing instances, remarking: “What an excellent option to move the time and in addition examine new solutions each day” Christopher Robin, who may cosolve on the age of eighteen at the couch along with his father, A. A. Milne Indira Gandhi, whose participation in a bilateral monetary cooperation contract is attributed via diplomat and champion solver Roy Dean to an ice-breaking dialog approximately crosswords previously Norman Mailer, who instructed Newsweek in 2003 that “this is how I comb my mind each morning,” including, “I’m harm that I’m by no means in a single of them. And I’ve acquired a final identify with 3 vowels. You’d imagine I’d be scorching muffins, yet I’m no longer” Thomas Keneally, who, while the BBC requested what unmarried merchandise he might take to a wasteland island, selected a set of puzzles from the London instances Queen Elizabeth II, who, in a 1992 profile in vainness reasonable, starts each one morning with the Telegraph crossword followed through kippers or kidneys on toast . . . ... her sister, Princess Margaret, who as soon as gained a publication as a prize within the kingdom lifestyles crossword competition . . . ... and their father, King George VI, whose final act ahead of death of a middle assault in his sleep was once a late-evening crossword clear up. (Who will be on yours? You can’t have Ol’ Clue Eyes—I’ve nabbed him . . . ) day after today MAKES YOU stressful? destiny what is going to the crossword of the twenty-first century appear like? we've got declared that the 1st crossword used to be published on December 21, 1913, within the manhattan global newspaper. Arthur Wynne’s “Word-Cross” used to be the rudimentary grid-plus-clues, definitions-lead-to-answers puzzle from which all others—Swedish and eastern, directly and cryptic—have constructed. yet is that certainly, undoubtedly real? The years following the yank Civil struggle observed a flourishing of periodicals for veterans, holding alive the camaraderie of the Union and Confederacy groupings, sprinkling in a few reportage .