What has come to be known as the first crossword puzzle was created by Arthur Wynne and published in the New York World on December 21, 1913.

This puzzle would have been considered nothing more than a hollow diamond to enthusiasts of the form, a predecessor of the crossword which consists of interlocking words in a simple geometric shape. However, this puzzle led to others in the World which quickly began to resemble the modern crossword puzzle. The original puzzle was called a Word-cross, but the name was soon changed to cross-word, and eventually the hyphen was dropped. It also used a different numbering scheme than is used today, and an arrangement of clues similar to that of a form, but those also quickly changed to those of the modern crossword.

Here is the world's first crossword puzzle. The original was printed without black squares around the outside (only in the middle) but the presentation on Everything looks better with the outside blacked in. The word FUN was already filled in as printed.


############1 ############
############  ############
##########F U N ##########
##########      ##########
########2        3########
########          ########
######4            5######
######      32      ######
####6       ##       9####
####       7##8       ####
##10      ######      13##
##      11######12      ##
14    15##########16    17
        ##########        
##      19######20      ##
##18      ######      21##
####      23##24      ####
####22      ##      25####
######      33      ######
######26          27######
########          ########
########28      29########
##########      ##########
##########30  31##########
############  ############
############34############

Clues (Original eccentric order. Across first, all the way down the left side, then the ones on the right of the center hole, then down clues, left to right, top to bottom in columns with two words.)

2-3. What bargain hunters enjoy.
4-5. A written acknowledgment.
6-7. Such and nothing more.
10-11. A bird.
14-15. Opposed to less.
18-19. What this puzzle is.
22-23. An animal of prey.
26-27. The close of a day.
28-29. To elude.
30-31. The plural of is.
8-9. To cultivate.
12-13. A bar of wood or iron.
16-17. What artists learn to do.
20-21. Fastened.
24-25. Found on the seashore.
10-18. The fibre of the gomuti palm.
6-22. What we all should be.
4-26. A day dream.
2-11. A talon.
19-28. A pigeon.
F-7. Part of your head.
23-30. A river in Russia.
1-32. To govern.
33-34. An aromatic plant.
N-8. A fist.
24-31. To agree with.
3-12. Part of a ship.
20-29. One.
5-27. Exchanging.
9-25. To sink in mud.
13-21. A boy.

Answer to the first crossword puzzle

Nice try. The first crossword puzzle was actually written by Gronk the Feckless about 200,000 years ago. The full puzzle has been faithfully transcribed by yours truly and is as follows¹:

        S
        T
      R O C K
        N
        E
        S T I C K
              A
              V
        F I R E
    

¹ NOTE: There were no clues. The biggest challenge facing neanderthals at the time was just getting the words to cross.

Puzzles similar to crosswords featured in The Stockton Bee from 1793-1795 but it was in 1862 the actual phrase of “crossword puzzle” made its first appearance.

With the first crossword puzzles appearing in 19th century England and had basic clues. Nowadays, they are the most popular word game in the world.

While widespread credit has been given to Eugene Maleska for the puzzle that ran in the New York Times, the phrase itself appeared sooner. Crossword puzzles began appearing in 1873 editions of the St. Nicholas magazine, with others appearing in Italian magazines in 1890.

It was in 1913 that an English journalist published a puzzle called “word cross”, and this puzzle featured many of the same features that we see in crossword puzzles today.

So, while there are many claims to being the first crossword puzzle, it is the 1913 puzzle that is credited as the first, and thus the journalist, Arthur Wynne, as the inventor.

On this page https://crossword365.com/pages/play-worlds-first-crossword you can play the first ever crossword puzzle, as it appeared in "The New York World" in digital format.

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