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  • Writer's pictureSteven Hansen

Can You Solve This Puzzle?

Attention cruciverbalists!

Can you solve this crossword? If it doesn’t look familiar, you may have missed it. You see, this is the very first crossword puzzle ever constructed. It was invented by Liverpudlian Arthur Wynne (1871-1945) who emigrated to the U.S. when he was 19. He got a job at the New York World and created puzzles for the "Fun" section of the Sunday paper.

For the December 21, 1913, edition of the World, he introduced this diamond-shaped “Word-Cross” puzzle. Print this copy of the original to work it out on paper. (Answers are provided at the end of this post.)

Wynne claimed his inspiration came from an ancient Roman game played in Pompeii called magic squares, in which players were given a list of words and letters on tiles to make into patterns on a table. He eventually evolved his puzzles’ grid patterns, adding black and white squares in a symmetrical shape which we now recognize as the standard “crossword” puzzle.

The puzzle master himself, Arthur Wynne (Trinity Mirror Archive/Reach)

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