December 21, 2013
100th Anniversary of the Crossword Puzzle
See the interactive version here!
We were lucky and excited to collaborate on our crossword doodle with Merl Reagle, one of the best and most well-known crossword constructors working today. Merl worked with Google engineer/crossword enthusiast, Tom Tabanao, to craft our puzzle grid and write all the clues. Merl's knowledge of the puzzle world—and perspective on crosswords in particular—is considerable. We thoroughly enjoyed the wit and humor he brought to the whole endeavor. Here are Merl's thoughts on the history of the crossword puzzle. -Ed.
First, it was a huge honor to be asked to do this. Many, many thanks to Tom Tabanao for pulling me in and shepherding the project through.
Second, it was a great opportunity to bring Arthur Wynne’s name into the public spotlight. He never made any money off the crossword, but he made tens of millions of puzzle fans around the world very happy. The fact that the first word across in the first-ever crossword was FUN is very appropriate, too. Crossword puzzles are indeed supposed to be fun—brainy fun, but fun nonetheless. The first puzzle also contained the word DOH, clued as “fiber of the gomuti palm”—but it’s also appropriate today, 100 years later, as something we would say when we don’t get a crossword clue right away. Maybe Arthur could see into the future! In any event, I am thrilled to have been a part of this centennial celebration.
Posted by Merl Reagle, Crossword Constructor