cruciverbalist (krüsəˈvərbələ̇st)

The first crossword puzzle was created by Arthur Wynne, editor of the New York World, and published in 1913. (Image from commons.wikimedia.com)

If you’ve been passing time conquering crossword puzzles during quarantine, you can thank Arthur Wynne. In 1913, Wynne, the editor of the New York World, decided that readers needed a new challenge in the Fun section of the newspaper. Wynne designed a Word-Cross (later changed to Crossword) to engage and amuse readers.

However, it wasn’t until 1924, when Simon and Schuster published the first collection of crosswords that solving these puzzles became a national craze. The Cross Word Puzzle Book, a compilation of crosswords from the New York World, was a huge success, selling over 100,000 copies. Newspapers clamored to get crosswords published in their pages in an effort to feed the public’s newfound obsession.

The New York Times decided to publish its first crossword on Sunday, February 15, 1942 in an effort to provide civilians with an escape from troubling WWII news. The crossword became a daily feature on September 11, 1950. Today, cruciverbalists consider the crosswords published in The New York Times the best puzzles in the world.

Cruciverbalist comes from the Latin words crux, meaning cross and verbum meaning word. A cruciverbalist is someone who is adept at creating or solving crossword puzzles.

Margaret Petherbridge Farrar, the first crossword puzzle editor for The New York Times, once stated, “You can’t think of your troubles while solving a crossword.” If you would like to escape into a crossword puzzle, try The New York Times daily mini crossword puzzle.

The solution to Wynne’s crossword puzzle can be found here.

S.H.A.R.E. Campaign

My non-profit, Bluegrass Literacy Project, kicked off a reading campaign urging everyone to read, while at home. The SHARE (Stay Home and Read, Everyone!) campaign allows us to not only promote reading but also engage with our global community.

How does it work?

  1. Choose your favorite children’s book
  2. E-mail us at bluegrassliteracyproject@gmail.com and sign up to be a reader
  3. Choose a day and time that is convenient for you
  4. Read your book on our Instagram Live!

The campaign started on June 1st and we’ve had a reader every day since then! Schedules are posted on Sunday so be sure to tune into our Instagram Lives. If you happen to miss a reading, recordings will be available on our IGTV.

With so much chaos and uncertainty in the world, it’s nice to escape into a good children’s book, even for just a few minutes. Thank you for your support!