Elizabeth Kingsley, the inventor of the acrostic puzzle, previously had two careers. A Wellesley College
graduate, Kingsley taught English at Girls High School in Brooklyn pertaining to numerous years. Whenever she
initially encountered usa today crossword puzzles in 1926, her response was “It’s fun, but what’s the
beneficial part of it?” As mentioned earlier in my posts, her previous disapproval of reading habits amongst undergraduates at Wellesley
in the early 1930s triggered her to look for a new type of puzzle. Always skilled at anagrams
and other scrambled-word recreations, she built the first acrostic usa crossword puzzle, which she identified as a “Double-Crostic,” at the age of sixty-one! In six months the woman had made one hundred of these types of puzzles.
A friend suggested that The Saturday Review of Literature would certainly be an acceptable
outlet. The magazine agreed. Kingsley designed puzzles for the magazine at the pace of one
a week from 1934 right up until her golden age in 1952. She additionally found time to create and publish
selections of Double-Crostics for Simon and Schuster, as well as to have on a lively
communication with fans. Her communication ultimately formed the basis for a column in
The Saturday Review known as “The Acrostics Club.”
Kingsley was continuously searching for new words, particularly ones that disposed of “h”
(which usually appeared to crop up far too often), j, and q. Beneficial fans continuously provided her
with possibly useful words.
Doris Nash Wortman, one of Kingsley’s successors at The Saturday Review” and Simon
and Schuster, released a variance called telestich, in that the last letters J the defined
Crostics writer at The Saturday Review (which is now, no longer exists), writes acrostic puzzles for
The New York Times and generates Double-Crostic selections for Simon and .chuster. His
publications sometimes offer the telestich variance , and once in a while a puzzle offers cryptic clues
instead than straight meanings.
Edward Powys Mathers was given birth to in Forest Hill, England, as well as being well-informed at Trinity
College, Oxford. He had been a successful literary critic and had been well known in his community. When he
primary experienced crossword puzzles, he had been not impressed through the tame definitions and
developed a cryptic style of clue that needed more of the solvers than were general
knowledge. By 1926, his particular puzzles had been featured regularly in the London Obser . The initial
reaction to his clues had been that solving them took too much time, but his style realized on, and
in a few years he was under stress to extend himself, and his fans, more deeply. Mathers went on up the “nom de puzzle Torquemada”, an extremely hard choice, as Tomas de Torquemada had been the first and most notorious Grand Inquisitor is the Spanish
Inquisition. The twentieth-century Torquemada gathered some 670 puzzles for the
Observer, the clearing up of which constituted weekly ordeals for British cryptic fans.
Torquernada’s system of designing a puzzle was initially to select a theme, commonly a bit of
verse or some other quotation, and then simply to crank out a trust of pertinent words. Whilst he
considered clues, his wife had the boring chore of installing the words into a usa today diagram that she
devised all on her own.
In contrast to the ostensibly accidental invention of the crossword puzzle, the acrostic usa crossword puzzle was
a quite purposive creation. In the early 1930s a woman named Elizabeth Kisley came back
to her alma mater, Wellesley College, for a class get-together. While traveling to the carus, Kingsley
perceived the current undergraduates’ preference in literature as second-rate, and Lout to devise
a puzzle particularly to improve their literary appreciation by, as she later not :”reviewing
classical English and American poet and prose masters.” The first Double-Crostic was released
by The Saturday Review of Literature on March 31, 1934. The magazine asked solvers to make recommendations to enhance the usa crossword puzzle-for Example, by creating the clues more difficult or easier-and written and published letters regarding the usa today crossword puzzle solutions for a number of weeks.
Acrostic puzzles incorporate acrostics, anagrams, and definitions. The writer of an
acrostic puzzle rearranges the letters in an analysis from some published work to shape a
series of words. The solver should consider the words from definitions. The series of words
creates an acrostic: The very first letters of the words, used in order, spell something-usually the
name of the author of the passage and the name of the work from which the passage was
obtained. (Occasionally the acrostic spells the name of a person or place which is the topic of the
Today large numbers of solvers take pleasure in the special challenge of acrostic puzzles not just in the USA, but throughout the world.
Only as crosswords and acrostic puzzles originated from previous amusements, new puzzle
forms have occured from crosswords and acrostic puzzles. The names for the types of puzzles
vary from publisher to publisher, of course, but a few of the popular ones are skeletons, in
which solvers fit words from a list into a freely interlocking pattern; fill-ins, in that solvers
fit words through a list into a traditional crossword puzzle pattern: and cross-numbers, in
which solvers enter in digits into a crossword-style pattern to add to particular sums (the
The Reporter, an American magazine printed from 1949 to 1968, brought what
may be the greatest form of crossword puzzle. The Acrostickler, constructed by Henry Allen,
had layouts and clues similar to the cryptic crossword puzzles. The unrestrained letters in the
diagram recombined to form words in an acrostic yielding the identity of some prominent
person. A few answers in the diagram pertained to that person in some way, potentially
containing of the person’s birthplace, occupation, or the like.
Harper’s Month picked up the Acrostickler when The Reporter ceased publication,
but ditched it at the end of 1969. It might simply have been too exotic to make it through.
Will Shortz introduced his editorial point of view to the crosswords approved by GAMES,
significantly reducing “crosswordese“ (which is a word I made up just simple means ease of crosswords) and obscurity in desire of references to current
culture. GAMES offered high quality pay for the few puzzles it published every issue, and
it grew to become (and remains) a highly competing market. As much more composers delivered puzzles
calculated to gain t’s favor, he ended up being able to eliminate almost all crosswordese and
obscurity born of frustration.
Several younger composers broke directly into the business. Led , possibly , by Henry Hook,
Merl Reagle, and Mike Shenk, they got past unpleasant places in grids with product brand
names and imaginative words but had introduced letter combinations rather than alternative spellings and outdated words. Furthermore, they stressed cleverness and up to date words in the explanations.
Hook, for instance, amused contestants at one Stamford tournament together with his
“Cook book” clue for COMA. Judges placed around the room’s perimeter documented
being capable to gauge who had advanced how far through the puzzle by the chuckles
and groans ”
One of Reagle‘s weekly San Francisco Examiner crossword puzzles gained
national publicity in 1991. A man and woman had become friends on understanding they
both solved the usa crossword puzzles fantastically. The man organized with Reagle to hide a marriage
proposal in a puzzle, and to incorporate several answers which would appear regular to
most solvers , but would have importance for the woman so she might not attribute
anything to chance . Their story made an appearance on CNN and The Today Show, in
People, and in USA Today. Reagle went to their wedding the following year.
Dell Puzzle Publications began a second editorial department together with an completely independent
line of issues. Magazines published below the Dell Champion logo had taken up the
GAMES-style philosophy while providing a significantly bigger market for composers compared to
GAMES. Unlike Dell ‘s original puzzle department, which often deprecates brand names as
“free advertising,” the crosswords in the Dell Champion collections begin using product names
in moderation, and figurative and funny clues in great quantity.
Stanley Newman, winner of many crossword-solving tournaments, began the Crossworder’s
Own Newsletter -a self-published, subscription-only publication . Each individual issue contained articles, book reviews, and industry gossip, along with a dozen or so usa today crossword puzzles after being rated for difficulty.
In CON, which he renamed Tough Puzzles when he dropped the easy puzzles and included more challenging ones, Newman articulated the methodology taken by Shortz and Dell champion staff, perhaps more evidently then they themselves had considered it through. He professed modernization was necessary to view with MTV,
video games, and so on for younger people’s time, litigating demographics make usa today crosswords
extinct . He wrote strenuous editorials espousing the point of view and exhorting his
readers to make a complaint to their local newspapers about ‘tired’ and boring usa crosswords, and he
questioned those papers to run a ‘contemporary crossword’ together with their
present sunday puzzle and poll solvers’ preferences. No less than the wall
street journal, the (final major daily newspaper without having a crossword) reported
the controversy. Newman supported up his stance with the puzzles he printed.
They were difficult despite a complete lack of crosswords and the like,
and entertaining simply because the dues used a lot of “wordplace” and showcased many
individual references to present culture.
To always be certain, a number of solvers sill favor the older style of usa today crosswords, with its
primarily literal definitions, infrequent odd words, relaxed crosswords and virtually
no mention of present-day popular culture. The New York Times acknowledged and
recommended the continuing crossword evolution, however by naming Will Shortz, their
puzzle editor in 1993, Shortz by the way, was commissioned to come up with the riddles for the
1995 film Batman Forever.
December 1: George McElveen, a Baptist preacher in Pittsburgh, remained up almost all night
“Working out his combinations” with regard to a usa today crossword puzzle, the actual solution to which usually was the textfor his subsequent sermon. The church overflowed along with puzzle fans the following Sunday.
The congregation resolved the puzzle, which in turn was set up on a large blackboard at the entrance of the church, before Reverend McElveen presented the sermon.
While Reverend McElveen was difficult at work using his crossword puzzle to attract
individuals to church, another man came to regret his experience with a puzzle. W. Nathan
became engrossed in a puzzle book while eating at a New York restaurant. Equipped with a
dictionary, and with kibitzers searching over his shoulder, he refused to leave his table at closing
time. He was ultimately arrested for disturbing the peace.
December 2: The Times profiled Fanny Goldner, whom they called the city’s oldest
puzzle fan. The 103-year-old woman grew to become interested in puzzles when an attendant located at hernursing home put together one in Yiddish. The Times did not report whether the puzzle used English or Hebrew letters.
December 11: A woman in Cleveland was given a divorce from a puzzle addict. In
court the girl testified, “Morning, noon, and night, it Is crossword puzzles.”
December 12: The United States Department of Agriculture, bowing below the weight
of many requests from puzzle solvers, released a statement exposing the name of the
Roman goddess of agriculture: Ops. The announcement went on to say that the department
had been in no way establishing a precedent, either for themselves or for any other governmental body, bygiving out such information.
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad announced that it would supply dictionaries in its club
cars for passenger convenience. Initially on the main rail lines, and most likely eventually on
the branch lines as well.
December 20: Two inmates in a Pittsburgh jail got into a fight. Many people were using a
usa today crossword puzzle book to pass the time while they did time. When they came to a four-letterword defined as “Place of punishment,” with the letters “JOlL” filled in, they could not
Resolve the choice, CELL. or HELL, without turning to fisticuffs.
Articles in The New York Times over the next several days mentioned in increased
Dictionary sales. The Los Angeles Public library established a five-minute restriction n the use of
a dictionary. In an editorial The New York Times commented, ”The only comfort of no puzzlers
is that the paper on which the sacred documents are printed cannot ensure through
the ages … no one particular has yet observed to be fit to engrave his favorite puzzle on his head one.”
The first few days of 1925 made it clear that the fad was not dying out. In Paris, it was
Reported, American women were fascinated with hosiery printed with black,, 1 and white squares in random patterns. The Parisian women, nonessential to say, pronounced the fashion material depicting puzzle fragments. A book given away with each purchase. And included the
Complete set of puzzles and definitions. Anybody answering all the puzzles in a book was
Eligible for any of the other dresses in the line. (No one ever reported any difficulties trying
to solve a puzzle while a dress was occupied.)
The Sunday Express printed England’s first crossword puzzle in early November
1924. Strangely enough, the coauthor of that puzzle was none other than Arthur Wynne! (Well,
Maybe it’s not so inquisitive. Nearly all we know of Wynne’s life is that he was Liverpudlian
who migrated to America as a journalist.) Wynne had shown a few of his puzzles to a
syndication, C. W. Shepherd, who convinced the Sunday Express to run a few lines. The very first one
selected had an American spelling, so Shepherd set out to create what he thought of those that would beat trivial change.
Through the time he was finished he had revised several words and phrases as well as clues, firmly
Creating, if not inaugurating, the continuing custom of unlimited editorial privilege to Tinker with purpose to improve.
Crossword puzzles rapidly grew to become one of the most well-known amusements of the time,
Both in America (USA) and in Europe. Never before had a novelty obtained such extensive news coverage both in USA and around the world.
Between November 17 and December 23, 1924, The New York newspaper released
More than twenty articles and editorials related to crossword puzzles. The paper carried on
To run articles and editorial comments from time to time for the next five years. The material
In the remainder of this section is driven primarily from items that made an appearance in the Times.
(Dates cited refer to publication and not necessarily to the actual events.)
On November 17, 1924, The New York Times editorialized that crossword puzzles
Were “scarcely removed from the form of temporary madness that made so many people
Pay tremendous sums for rnah jong sets.” Another editorial less than a week Later continued
November 24: Scholars at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore speculated that an
Artifact called the “Phaestus Disk” could have been a forerunner of modem crossword puzzles.
This terra-cotta disk, apparently of Cretan origin and perhaps dating from 2 I 00 B.C., was
On display in the Johns Hopkins Archeological Museum. It had a spiral design of the then un-translated Symbols, which may have made sense when read working outward from the Center or inward from the rim.
A week later, two Princeton University professors released challenges to their respective Classes. Robert Root, a professor of English, made the still-excellent recommendation that established an English vocabulary course using crossword puzzles as text material would be very useful. Warner Fite, a professor of logic, offered a prize for a successfully compiled crossword puzzle in which a solitary set of meanings would lead to two totally different yet equally correct sets of answers for a single diagram. No one claimed the prize.