Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Community News Network

November 30, 2013

Happy 100th to the crossword puzzle

(Continued)

She called it her "inadvertent profession." When she started in the 1920s she never expected such a seemingly genteel activity to be so controversial. The crossword craze killed mah-jongg virtually overnight. (Mah-jongg dealers put this note in the New Yorker: "Roses are red, violets are blue, we'd like to cut your throats for you.")

There was a crossword-related news story in the New York papers almost every week: A Baptist preacher constructed a crossword for a sermon. A man refused to leave a restaurant until he finished a crossword and had to be escorted out by police. A Cleveland woman was granted a divorce because her husband was obsessed with crosswords. A Budapest waiter explained in a crossword why he was committing suicide; police were unable to solve it.

The Broadway show "Puzzles of 1925" had a skit in which crossword fans were depicted as patients in a sanitarium. Commuter trains started putting dictionaries in every car. The Los Angeles Public Library had to enforce a limit on how long you could use the dictionary. England's Queen Mary became a crossword fan. The Chicago Department of Health declared that crossword solving was beneficial to health and happiness. And thesaurus author Peter Roget was declared "the patron saint of crossworders."

All the while, the Times called crossword solving "a temporary madness," serving "no useful purpose whatsoever," and an "epidemic" that would soon be over.

In 1942 the Times finally gave in and hired Margaret P. Farrar as its first crossword editor.

So whatever happened to Arthur Wynne?

As readers of The Washington Post may know, I make the crossword for the Post magazine every Sunday. I live in Tampa, Fla., but in this age of instant everything, I just attach the puzzle in an email and click "send."

Text Only
Community News Network
  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo