Crossword Puzzle History
Word puzzles can be traced until the Roman period. Actually, remains of a word squares can be found in the Roman ruins of Pompeii. A word square is composed of words which can be read horizontally and vertically. The words are the same in both directions. But there would be instances where the horizontal word is different. This is referred to as the double word square.
A famous word square was discovered in the Herculaneum ruins in Pompeii. The word square was called Sator Square which is in Latin. It can be predated in the Christian era.
The longest word squares done were composed of nine letters and uses unusual word and proper names. Nobody was able to construct a ten letter word square, whether it is a computer or a person. Word squares were considered to be the forerunners of crossword puzzles.
When crossword puzzle was first published in the New York World, it was initially called “word-cross puzzle”. It is very different from the current puzzles, since there were no black squares. The New York World was the only newspaper back then which started publishing crossword puzzles. It was created by a journalist working for the World. Wynne was inspired by a childhood game in England.
In 1924, a small publishing firm released a collection of the puzzles published in the World. It was published in book form. The book was launched by Simon and Schuster. It sold 36,000 copies after the first printing. They published two more volumes of the book and this signalled the start of the craze over crossword puzzle. Other newspapers eventually picked up the trend and started publishing their own crossword puzzles.
Within the next decade, crossword puzzle became very popular. It seems like every kind of business is using crossword puzzle, it was even given free with items of clothing sold. Its popularity eventually reached and conquered Europe.
The first crossword puzzle appeared in Britain in Pearson’s Magazine in February 1922. It first appeared in Times in February 1930. British crossword puzzle was considered to be more difficult since it is a cryptic puzzle. To solve a cryptic puzzle, answering the clues is not the only thing to do. You would also need to figure out the clue itself.
The crossword puzzles were initially created by hand until a software company was able to develop a program for computers that would be able to create a crossword puzzle. This program was first created by Variety Games Inc. in 1997, the software was called Crossword Weaver and was patented.
Today crosswords are among the most popular word games in history. There are people who make answering crossword puzzles a daily habit while there are some people who are totally obsessed with it. In the United States alone, there were about 40 million people who solve crosswords daily.
Now, there the New York World is no longer around. The initial format of the crossword puzzle transformed to its current form. But Simon & Schuster still publishes book of crossword puzzles. Until now, the crossword puzzle’s popularity still continues.
By Anders Eriksson
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