On the Fifth Day of Christmas, let’s forget about the five golden rings. Instead, why not return to the age-old tradition of attacking the crossword puzzle in the daily newspaper?
From George Elliott: Crossword puzzles are said to be the most popular and widespread word game in the world yet have a short history. The first crosswords appeared in England during the 19th century. They were of an elementary kind, apparently derived from the word square, a group of words arranged so the letters read alike vertically and horizontally and printed in children’s puzzle books and various periodicals. In the United States, however, the puzzle developed into a serious adult pastime.
The first known published crossword puzzle was created by a journalist named Arthur Wynne from Liverpool, and he is usually credited as the inventor of the popular word game. December 21, 1913 was the date and it appeared in a Sunday newspaper, the New York World. Wynne’s puzzle(see below) differed from today’s crosswords in that it was diamond shaped and contained no internal black squares. During the early 1920’s other newspapers picked up the newly discovered pastime and within decade crossword puzzles were featured in almost all American newspapers. It was in this period crosswords began to assume their familiar form. Ten years after its rebirth in the States it crossed the Atlantic and re-conquered Europe.
The gold standard, according to my esteemed “word ologists” is the New York Times crossword puzzle. I have two friends who religiously do the NYT crossword EVERY day!
Per S. Kabir: Plenty of researchers have discovered the positive effects that crossword puzzles can have on one’s brain if played regularly. Regularly doesn’t necessarily mean every day — once a week is fine. Among these researchers is Ann Lukits, who wrote “Puzzles Boost Verbal Skills, Cut Dementia Risk” for the Wall Street Journal. She firmly believes that solving crosswords on a regular basis can “improve memory and brain function in older adults.” Such activities can also “improve mental functions in patients with brain damage or early dementia.”
There was a period, when I traveled on business, that the crossword puzzle became a regular companion. I think it is time to start once again. I have dear friends who attack the BYT before they do anything else! Who knows, you might learn some new words. How about you?