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Google Helps Celebrate 100 Years of Cr_sswo_ds 27

Posted by samzenpus
from the old-school-wasting-time dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Google recently helped celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first "word cross" puzzle (the name soon changed), which appeared in the New York World on Dec. 21, 1913. Credited to cruciverbalist Arthur Wynne they soon spread to other papers and by the 1920s, the decade of fads and fashions, crossword puzzles were up there with flagpole sitting, goldfish swallowing, raccoon coats, monkey gland implants, Charleston contests and ukuleles as the very embodiment of mad, reckless youth on its never-ending quest for novelty. When crossword puzzles were at the height of popularity, they spawned a cadre of haters — mostly self-styled intellectuals, who found them idiotic, exasperating, even alarming. The sight of a dozen commuters doing crossword puzzles on the morning train was as irritating to some cranky people, then, as the sight of a dozen teens absorbed in their iPhones might seem today. These days, crossword puzzles are the highly respectable pastime of brainy people. The New York Times runs crosswords that increase in difficulty throughout the week; its crosswords editor, Will Shortz, is a minor celebrity. Champions vie to out-cross each other in the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Merl Reagle, who creates crosswords for the Washington Post, believes that while puzzles have changed over the years, their basic appeal remains the same. 'My theory is that it's because of their interlocking nature. Unlike a lot of other kinds of puzzles, every answer you get helps you get the next one.' Bernice Gordon, a 99-year-old crossword constructor who designs puzzles for The New York Times and other publications, says she owes her longevity in part to crosswords. 'I couldn't live without them,' says Gordon. 'It's my lifeblood. I don't sleep at night because I think, 'What rhymes with "ritz" and "sits" and "pits"?' I do my best work from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.'"
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Google Helps Celebrate 100 Years of Cr_sswo_ds

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  • surely helps my Mom (Score:4, Interesting)

    by turkeydance (1266624) on Monday December 23, 2013 @07:46PM (#45770821)
    she's 91 and still "with it". crossword puzzles in the NEWSPAPERS have helped immensely. among her much younger friends, she is the one who finishes them first. right now, i can't think of any non-drug therapy, or ANY therapy, which has kept her going day after day after day. her epitaph should be a crossword puzzle.
    • In the home of actress Betty White (in her 90's also, and sharp as a tack!), it's considered a sin to throw out an unfinished crossword puzzle. Doing puzzles regularly keeps the brain sharp, especially in old age.
      • by vlueboy (1799360)

        In the home of actress Betty White (in her 90's also, and sharp as a tack!), it's considered a sin to throw out an unfinished crossword puzzle. Doing puzzles regularly keeps the brain sharp, especially in old age.

        Ages: 99, 91 and 90-something from your own sample.
        No disrespect meant: I'm starting to notice a generational pattern here ; )

        It is a shame that today's middle aged and youths regard the horoscope sections more highly for entertainment. Sudoku itself isn't my thing, but I recall it WAS brainy and extremely popular. They don't require actual culture or dictionary lookups to solve (just math skills). From what I recall back in 2007 - late 2009, I'd see lots on solvers on the way to work.

        They were all gone at

        • One small niggle: Sudoku need no maths skills whatever; substitute A-I or Apple-Cat and they work in exactly the same way. Sudoku are pure logic puzzles.
    • by Guppy (12314)

      surely helps my Mom

      Oh hey, You just helped me figure out what rhymes with "ritz" and "sits" and "pits". Thanks!

    • by antdude (79039)

      What did she think of Google's doodle version? ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    English crossword puzzles look so bland. Those in Finland contain picture hints and the hints are embedded.

    Finnish happens to be an excellent crossword puzzle language because of the nice consonant-vowel distribution. You can form grids with rather long words and few gaps.

    See [sanaristikot.fi] these [sanaris.fi] for [kaapeli.fi] example [sanaristikot.net].

    • English crossword puzzles look so bland.

      On a similar note, I find the American style to be vaguely unsatisfying with the larger number of smaller words alongside each other rather than the English style that tends to favour longer words with fewer crossings.

  • I've always loved crosswords. I have the NYT app and play every weekday. An unfinished crossword turns me into a veritable Sheldon Cooper. I cannot rest until it is complete. As much as I like to play them, I cannot build one to save my life. My hat is off to those who can create crossword puzzles.

  • "Crasswoods"? I don't get it...
  • Why do these things always make the main page a day late? I had to search for this [google.com].

    Took me almost an hour, a lot of which was trying to figure out "one way to store data".

    • Why do these things always make the main page a day late?

      Or three (I saw it on Friday).

      Took me almost an hour, a lot of which was trying to figure out "one way to store data".

      From the other clues, I had the first 3 letters. The only think that made sense to me for the 4th letter was "E". I thought "well, I guess that kind of makes sense, though that's a really awkward way of phrasing it". It wasn't until later I realized that was the wrong answer. When I found the correct answer I was a bit surprised. Not being a big fan of crosswords, I didn't realize they did that in answers (trying to be vague in my reply, so as not to spoil it for anyone).

    • That's where I got stuck as well.

Dennis Ritchie is twice as bright as Steve Jobs, and only half wrong. -- Jim Gettys

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